I see the world, through the eyes of an estate planning and elder law attorney, and notice it is becoming more difficult for middle-class Americans to thrive financially and be able to enjoy better standards of living.
As we go through life, we have to take on more responsibility and we have to learn to do more for ourselves. While we are still living at home, we have the help of parents and family to fix things for us, and life feels easy. We may not always appreciate this until we become adults, and homeowners, and there are repairs needed. Sometimes we have to pay somebody to fix it when we can’t fix it ourselves. Of course, when we are parents, we often have to fix things for our kids too.
A Broken System
When it comes to retirement however, nobody is gong to fix things for you. There are challenges like taxes and long-term care expenses which you will face. In Pennsylvania, our income taxes are high compared to some other states, and we have taxation on retirement benefits. We also have death tax, unlike most other states, known as the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. We have a situation from a taxation, and long-term care standpoint, where the middle-class is affected the most. Nursing homes cost over $15 000 per month, with statistics pointing to one in three people who will get dementia. This means that people could go broke as they struggle to pay for care in the nursing home.
We all pay into this government system, and are told that when we turn 65 years of age, we can go on Medicare, to provide us with healthcare. People believe that when they retire they will get a social security check and Medicare, but neither benefit will cover all the bills. For most seniors, they do not receive enough to afford to live a decent lifestyle. Medicare only pays for acute care, and not long-term care. If you were to have a heart attack, and need surgery followed by rehabilitation, Medicare will pay. It is unfortunate that anybody should have to suffer a heart attack. However, if you recover, from a financial standpoint you will not incur much, if any expense.
Medicare Doesn’t Pay
On the flip side, if you were to suffer a bad stroke, which requires you to receive long-term care, Medicare will only pay for your care in a skilled nursing facility for 20 days or up to 100 days at most. Thereafter, you have to find the money to pay for your own care in a nursing home. Essentially, we have a government system that is allowing seniors to go broke because of healthcare expenses. Most of us are likely to need long-term care, and I cannot understand why nobody wants to fix this broken system!
You have to take responsibility for protecting your nest egg, your legacy and protecting each other as a family, because no one else is going to do it.
Where to Start
Are you wondering where to start? While I can’t solve all these problems, I have a good understanding on how to help you with some aspects. That is why we encourage you to come to one of our Estate Planning and Elder Law Workshops. I teach you about estate planning, wills versus trusts, taxes and what tools you need. I will also help you to get these ‘tools’ in an affordable way. A successful estate plan honours your life and your legacy and everything you’ve done to get to this point.
You can register for one of our workshops on our website. The workshop is called “3 Secrets to Protect Your Legacy”. Our workshops are free, as we are an Education First law firm. We like to provide the education before you have to make a decision. Once equipped with knowledge, you can do what’s best for your family’s interests, and leave a legacy.