It is no surprise that the cost of caring for ourselves and our loved ones as we age is expensive. We expect there to be certain costs tied to nursing care, medical care and other needs as we age. We plan, we save and we do our best to make the right choices for our family’s future financial stability.

Unfortunately, our estimates about these costs may be understated. A recent report by Forbes notes that the cost of caring for an older adult are more than originally thought. In fact, these costs can exceed the cost of raising a child.

How do these costs compare? The estimate focuses on approximately four years of care for an aging loved one compared to seventeen years of rearing a child. As a result, it is important to keep in mind that the expenses for a child are spread out, while those for an older adult tend to be more immediate in nature.

The costs estimated for raising a child to the age of 17 are approximately $234,000. The estimate for the elderly: approximately $240,000. This estimate includes out-of-pocket costs for long-term care, which average $140,000, along with an additional minimum of $100,000 for out-of-pocket health care needs.

What can be done to mitigate these costs? Proper estate planning can help to reduce the financial obligation tied to long-term care costs. Making use of legal tools like trusts can help to ensure that your hard earned wealth is preserved while better ensuring eligibility for government programs like Medicaid can be used to help cover these costs.

Determining the right legal tools to use in your estate plan depends on your circumstances. As a result, it is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced elder law attorney to help craft a plan to meet your needs.