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Careful long-term care planning is essential

Long-term care insurance might not be something that even middle-aged people think about, but it is something that should be considered when you are planning your estate. This insurance can help to protect you and your family from having to cover the high cost of long-term care at home, in an assisted living situation, or in a nursing home. When trying to make long-term care plans, speaking with a Texas attorney will be the most informative thing to do; however, there are several factors to mull over in the meantime.

One of the most important things to consider is the reliability of the company offering the insurance. If you go through a reputable company that has been in the business for a while and has a good track record, you are much more likely to get the care you need when you need it. Research the insurance companies first.

You should also consider the timing of buying a long-term care insurance plan. For most people, the most affordable time to purchase a policy is while they are in their 50s. As the years pass, insurers typically raise the price of the policy by around 3 to 4 percent per year for a person in their 50s. Premiums for a person in their 60s might see a 6 percent increase per year. Buying in your 50s also helps to ensure that you are as healthy as possible when you apply for the policy. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates that underwriters reject around 25 percent of applicants in the 60 to 69-year age range.

You also have to consider the effect that inflation will have on your benefits when you are checking policies. Some policies offer inflation protection, but that could raise the cost by 50 percent or more. Inflation protection can be rather complex, so it's important to speak to someone familiar with long-term care planning in Texas to find out how to handle such options.

If you are married, you have to think about shared benefits. For example, one spouse can typically use the benefits of the other spouse's policy when their own policy is exhausted. This might raise the overall premium, but it is likely less expensive than purchasing additional years of coverage. Again, an attorney may be able to help clarify the benefits of this type of insurance.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for Long-Term-Care Insurance" Anne Tergesen, Apr. 13, 2014

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