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Why should you plan ahead for long-term care?

Many people avoid discussions and planning related to long-term and end-of-life care because these aren't fun topics. They can, in fact, be frightening topics to consider because of the element of unknown in the discussion -- how can you plan for something when you don't know what's going to happen.

While it's true that you can't know exactly what will happen during your life, you do know a few things. First, you know you're going to age. It's just a fact of life. Second, hopefully you have some amount of conviction about the fact that you'd like to be comfortable as you age. Finally, it's true no matter who you are that you have more time to plan now than if you wait until later.

Planning now helps you ensure you have the most possible choices later. If you start planning later, then the beginning path to some choices might have passed you by. No matter what your financial situation currently is, you can start planning for and implementing retirement plans, long-term insurance coverage and plans about where you will live and what you'll do in later years.

What seems overwhelming now will only be more so in the future if you put off planning. The closer you get to when you might need these plans, the harder decisions might be to make or the more stressful they might be. Planning now takes that burden off of you later.

Finally, planning now puts you in control of major decisions that might impact you later. If you wait, you might not be able to make those decisions for yourself if an accident or illness occurs. Working now with a legal professional to cement your plans and wishes in writing can provide big benefits for you in the future.

Source: AARP, "Planning for Long-Term Care: Your Resource Guide," accessed Nov. 18, 2016

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