“Don’t freak them out.”

That’s one thing Senior Editor Charles Paikert quickly learned when researching how advisors should approach long-term care planning with clients. Another takeaway: Planners shouldn’t avoid the subject, no matter how much clients resist.

“Try and get them to come to terms with the need to plan,” he says advisors told him while he was reporting his feature story, “Help clients face up to long-term care.”

Advisors use dramatically different approaches when broaching the topic. Some are more direct than others.

“I force couples to talk to each other about how they plan to deal with debilitating illness, lost income and whether they want to age in place,” Jeannette Bajalia, president of Petros Estate & Retirement Planning, tells Paikert.

LTC advice chart

Once clients make their tough decisions, Diversified Trust advisor Kim Garcia recommends strategies she thinks will work best for their particular circumstances. She may suggest hybrid LTC insurance plans, or even reverse mortgages for high-net-worth clients who want to self-fund.

“Hybrids can be the right answer for clients who are looking for life insurance and long-term care simultaneously,” Garcia says.

When speaking with Garcia and others, Paikert was surprised by how expensive and complicated long-term care proved to be, and how reluctant clients are to engage with it.

“It was a sobering reminder to try to not neglect long-term care planning, despite the strong temptation to do just that,” he tells me.

Chelsea Emery

Chelsea Emery

Chelsea Emery is Editor-in-Chief of Financial Planning, SourceMedia’s flagship brand covering wealth management.