How to Plan for Future Care Costs When You Are Living with a Disability

by Ed Carter
Living with a disability can mean living with unique challenges when it comes to your care. Those challenges can result in added health and living expenses, which you may have no issue covering at this point in your life. As you grow older and your care needs increase, however, it’s important to have a plan in place that will prevent those costs from overwhelming your finances, or even prevent you from accessing the care you need, and planning for these things can help.
Adequate Life Insurance  
One of the main reasons that you should plan for your future care is to protect your loved ones from having to assume any related costs. That’s why buying enough life insurance should be your top priority. Having enough life insurance coverage will ensure that your family members will have enough funds to pay for end-of-life expenses, including funeral costs and leftover medical debts. With so many tools, resources and guides available online, you can even purchase life insurance from the comfort of your own home, and online calculators can help you figure out how much insurance will provide the most peace of mind. No matter what your role is, whether you are the primary income earner or the primary care provider, having life insurance is a must if you want to protect loved ones from hardship during an already painful experience.
A Complete Estate Plan 
Life insurance can provide the financial cushion your family will need to stay afloat if you should unexpectedly pass away. If you want those funds to provide the maximum financial benefit to your family, however, you also need an estate plan. Although life insurance funds will pass to your beneficiaries, establishing additional layers of financial protection, such as a will and trusts, can prevent your assets from being distributed by the state and can also help surviving family members avoid costly probate and estate taxes. You may be able to use online tools for basic estate planning, but hiring an estate attorney is your best bet for making sure these documents are legal and that your final wishes are carried out after your passing. Another option is to hire a financial planner to walk you through some of these estate planning steps.
Legal Advice and Paperwork 
If you want to establish a financial plan for your future care and ensure that plan is carried out by your loved ones, then you will also want to discuss essential caregiving documents with your attorney. For example, if you would like a relative to be able to make decisions regarding your medical care when you cannot do so yourself, you will need a durable power of attorney for healthcare. In order for that family member to make financial decisions, you will need a standard power of attorney, but there are a couple of other legal documents that need to be in place in order for you to receive your desired level of care. Just like with an estate plan, completing this power of attorney and other living legal documents can require a lot of time and attention to detail. So, you may want to have an experienced attorney prepare this paperwork for you.
Some Extra Help 
If you are living with a disability and close to retiring, you may be more likely to need some variety of care as you get older. Many people find that residing in an assisted living facility enables them to get the help they need (e.g., cleaning, meal planning) while still remaining independent. Before choosing this option, be sure to tour local facilities to figure out which ones have the amenities you need and fit your budget. For instance, in Alabama, the median cost per year for residing in assisted living is $39,000.
Creating a financial plan can help ensure that you receive the best care. It can also protect your family from undue financial burdens. So, make sure you include the must-haves above in your financial plan for your future care.