Five Factors to Consider When Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance

The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care. Contrary to what many people believe, Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care. Given the cost of such care, it makes sense to consider your options, in advance, about how to obtain the care you might very well need without exhausting your life savings to pay for it.


One such option is long-term care insurance. Here are some factors to consider regarding the purchase of a long-term care insurance policy.

Your age and health matter.

The younger you are when you purchase long-term care insurance, the less expensive it will be. Unfortunately, if you have conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, your application might be rejected.

It is better to have some coverage than none at all.

The very best plans, such as those that adjust for inflation or cover the widest range of services, may be prohibitively expensive. Experts advise that policies with the option to add services in the future may be a better approach.

Know exactly what services are provided by your policy, and just as importantly, what services are not covered.

Take note of when the coverage begins.

Most policies have what is known as a waiting period. During the waiting period, you will have to pay for services on your own before the policy kicks in. As you would expect, the shorter the policy’s waiting period, the more expensive the policy will be.

Finally, if you buy your policy through an agent, ask him or her these three questions:

  • How long have you been selling long-term care insurance?
  • How many policies have you sold? Fewer than 100 is not enough.
  • How many insurers do you work with? The minimum should be three or four.

Contact an Experienced New York Estate Planning Attorney

We invite you to contact Amoruso & Amoruso LLP by calling (914) 253-9255 for a consultation about whether long-term care insurance is right for you, and if so, what type of policy makes the most sense for your particular situation.

widows, estate planning, medicaid

The Financial Difficulties Faced by Widows

Losing one’s husband is difficult enough in and of itself. Unfortunately, many widows must also contend with the financial consequences of the loss of their husbands. According to government figures cited in a New York Times article, the household income for widows typically drops 37 percent after a spouse dies, far more than the 22 percent income decline experienced by men who lose their wives. The assets of widows also tend to fall substantially more than those of widowers. This is compounded by the fact that women typically live longer than men. Census figures indicate that one in four women from 65 to 74 are widows. By the age of 85, three out of four women are widows.

widows, estate planning, medicaid

To make matters worse, even couples with estate plans often fail to address the need for adequate income that will be faced by a surviving spouse. Talking about income, especially with regard to the aftermath of a spouse’s death, is emotionally difficult.

Cindy Hounsell founded the nonprofit Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement two decades ago when she discovered just how many women face financial difficulty in their retirement. During her workshops, she meets women who tell her they are too afraid or timid to ask their spouse the question “Am I going to be okay if you die?” Ms. Hounsell also notes that many women are not adequately involved in family finances. To help women prepare for their financial lives in the future, her institute offers checklists for financial readiness, pension plans, savings and investment, and some checklists geared specifically toward widows.

“Women need to know where things are — life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes and keys, investment accounts — all of it,” said Hounsell. “We also tell women they should have their own accounts, an extra stash of money that’s not just for emergencies, and their own credit cards.”

Other asset and income management issues married women need to find out about include when the mortgage on the home will be paid off, whether there is a 401(k) or pension plan for one or both spouses, and if the couple owns investment property or several bank accounts. One of the most complicated issues is often determining how to obtain the maximum payment from Social Security, which is an important source of income for many older women.

The New York Times article also points out that studies show people in general are not saving enough to meet their needs in retirement. The federal government has created a website,, to provide all Americans, not just widows, with a wealth of helpful information about better understanding retirement and other issues relevant to seniors and their loved ones.

Will an inheritance spoil your children? | BT

The Risks of Giving Adult Children an “Advance” on Their Inheritance.

There are many reasons you might consider giving your adult children a portion of their inheritance now, while you’re alive and well. Maybe you’ve seen your nest egg grow thanks to a robust stock market, and you have more in savings than you thought you would at this stage of your life. Perhaps you and your spouse enjoy excellent health and have received nothing but good checkups for years, so you’re not overly concerned about medical expenses. Or maybe just want to be there to experience how your financial assistance helps your children pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.

Will an inheritance spoil your children? | BT

While many parents would like to help their adult children financially as much as possible, before acting on your generous inclinations you should consider a number of potential problems.

For instance, what if one of your children could use some help right now, perhaps with paying off student loans or starting a business, while your other children don’t need any help? If you give one child money, are you required to give the same amount to each of your children, regardless of need? Your other children may very well think so. Do you really want to set the stage for the family drama that could unfold by violating the “fairness principle?”

Of course, you could tell the recipient of your gift, along with your other adult children, that the gift will be deducted from the recipient’s inheritance when you pass away. This might solve the problem, but then again, it might not. As you’ve no doubt learned by now, your “kids” may be grown up but that doesn’t mean sibling rivalries and other powerful emotions from childhood simply disappear.

Another factor to consider, particularly with respect to large gifts, is whether your children are mature enough to handle a sizable amount of money on their own. It’s one thing to watch your children make sound financial decisions and achieve success as a result of your generosity, but quite another to watch them squander the money you worked so hard to attain and preserve. If your children use your gift in ways you never intended, will you resent it? Will they resent you for having “strings attached” to the gift?

Finally, while you and your spouse might be healthy now, people are living longer than ever before. The majority of us will require long-term care at some point in our lives. Long-term care is already expensive, and costs are expected to increase significantly in the future. Even basic services are expensive: According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average retired couple age 65 in 2021 may need approximately $300,000 saved (after taxes) to cover health care costs in retirement.

We never really know what the future holds. Change is the essence of life, and your situation could change dramatically in the years ahead, hopefully for the better but maybe for the worse. The last thing you and your spouse want is to discover five, ten, or twenty years down the road that you no longer have the money to support yourselves, let alone afford the lifestyle you have now.

What you do with your money is your business, of course. Just think long and hard before giving your adult children a significant financial gift. As always, we are here to help.