The Financial & Estate Planners Guide to Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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Moving into a CCRC is not a decision to be made in desperation because of an urgent health care need.


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The complexity and range of the CCRC contracts and pricing options need your careful thought and review with professional guidance to optimize your aging experience. Seniors with a spouse find a CCRC living choice particularly gratifying because partners will need different medical help at different rates. Even if the couple is not living in the same unit due to medical conditions they are at least on the same campus.

The social and activity amenities offered in CCRCs are very interactive and keep residents engaged. However, if the location of the campus is remote from urban environments, you might feel isolated and disconnected from the world at large.

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Some CCRCs are popping up in downtown locations and even on college campuses around the country. So be certain when considering a move to a CCRC you ask yourself if the site appeals to you for the long term. Also, find out how far removed it might be from family members you want to visit with often. There are many questions to ask when contemplating a move into a continuing care retirement community. Visit the property and bring a family member or legal counsel to ensure the proper inquiries are made and that answers are complete.

You are deciding whether to reside at a property for the rest of your life and must be sure that the facility is a fit for you.

Continuing care retirement communities: What could go wrong?

You do not want an unsuccessful CCRC to force you into a relocation process late in life that can be financially, physically, and emotionally draining. Contact our office today for assistance with your long-term care and retirement planning needs. The complexity and range of the CCRC contracts and pricing options need your careful thought and review with professional guidance to optimize your aging experience.

Seniors with a spouse find a CCRC living choice particularly gratifying because partners will need different medical help at different rates. Even if the couple is not living in the same unit due to medical conditions they are at least on the same campus. The social and activity amenities offered in CCRCs are very interactive and keep residents engaged.

However, if the location of the campus is remote from urban environments, you might feel isolated and disconnected from the world at large.

BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES OF CCRC AND LIFE PLAN COMMUNITIES

Some CCRCs are popping up in downtown locations and even on college campuses around the country. So be certain when considering a move to a CCRC you ask yourself if the site appeals to you for the long term. Also, find out how far removed it might be from family members you want to visit with often. There are many questions to ask when contemplating a move into a continuing care retirement community.

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Visit the property and bring a family member or legal counsel to ensure the proper inquiries are made and that answers are complete. You are deciding whether to reside at a property for the rest of your life and must be sure that the facility is a fit for you. Communities range in size from about to living units.

Some CCRCs provide units that are designed for people with special medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Most importantly, CCRCs guarantee a life-long place to live. Assisted living and even skilled nursing facilities make no such guarantees, and in fact they may ask you to leave if they believe they cannot provide the care you require. If all the nursing units are filled by either other residents or non-residents , the CCRC may place the ailing resident in another nursing home in the community. This can come as a rude shock to the affected elders, who believe precisely the opposite.

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The downside of CCRCs is the cost, which can be greater than what people with low or moderate income and assets can afford. Prices depend on the amount of care provided, the type of contract, and the unit's size and geographic location.

Elder Care: Living, Financial and Estate Planning

Often seniors use the proceeds from the sale of their home to make the initial investment in the retirement community. Thus, a tax may be due on gains from the sale of a home even though a CCRC unit is being purchased with the proceeds. You may be entitled to a refund of your entry fee on a declining scale if the refund is requested within a short time after moving in. Generally a refund will no longer be available after a specified period of residency.

Continuing care retirement communities: What could go wrong? | ThinkAdvisor

Some CCRCs give residents the option of paying a higher entry fee, which remains refundable. Part of the entry fee will be refunded either to the resident when the resident moves or to the resident's estate once the resident dies. Often CCRCs require an entrance deposit, which, as noted above, can be substantial. These entrance deposits typically are placed in an escrow account.

The number of payment options is growing. Although the entry and monthly fee arrangement is the most common, some CCRCs offer rental or equity arrangements. Under a rental arrangement, residents pay only a monthly fee, which typically covers housing and designated services sometimes including health care services.

Under equity arrangements, residents purchase their residence in the same way they would purchase a cooperative apartment or condominium, although the resale of the unit is usually limited to those who meet the community's eligibility criteria. Residents then may purchase service and health care packages for an additional fee. Contracts have gotten more confusing over the years, with many CCRCs offering different variations within each fee schedule. For example, a CCRC might offer two different extensive contracts and one modified contract, with different levels of refundability for each.



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