Two overriding questions govern your choices in an elder law estate plan. First, what will happen to your assets when you pass away? Second, what will happen to your assets if you need long-term care? A comprehensive plan covers both issues. You must protect assets from going to long-term care costs so that the assets may transfer to your beneficiaries instead.
Plan A, and the best protection from long-term care costs, is long-term care insurance. Factors to consider include the daily benefit amount and an inflation rider that keeps pace with the increasing cost of nursing homes. Long-term care insurance also pays for home health aides, which allows you to “age in place,” rather than go to a facility.
If you don’t have, or cannot get, long-term care insurance, Plan B is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT). Assets that have been in the MAPT for a minimum of five years are protected from nursing home costs and, under upcoming laws, two and a half years for home care.