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Progressive disease highlights need for asset protection

As the Colorado resident ages, planning for the future becomes more and more important. Retirement planning becomes a crucial part of the budget, and the individual often dreams of what life will be like once he or she is finally able to retire. These dreams often involve traveling, working in the yard and spending time with friends and family. Yet, as many individuals age, they discover that their retirement dreams are just that -- dreams, and their reality is dealing with a progressive disease such as dementia or Alzheimer's.

The need for long-term care can be a concern for many retirees and those approaching retirement. Medicare only covers a limited number of days if it is necessary for one to seek care in a skilled nursing care environment. Once these days are exhausted, the individual is then responsible for the cost associated with such care.

Skilled nursing care can be expensive. For those needing nursing home care the cost often exceeds $60,000 per year. This expense can quickly diminish one's retirement savings.

For those who qualify, Medicaid is available to cover these types of expenses; in order to qualify, specific requirements must be met. In some instances, the individual may be required to "spend down" assets in order to qualify. In other words, the individual is expected to utilize the majority of his or her assets first. However, with proper planning, it is possible to protect assets and allow the individual and family to focus on the most important concern -- getting the care needed to live with the progressive disease. Experienced legal counsel can assist the Colorado resident in structuring his or her estate to provide asset protection.

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