A lot of people don’t really think that much about the future because they are very much engaged in the ups and downs of the present. Years can turn into decades and before you know it you can see your retirement age beckoning over the horizon, and many people find that they are totally unprepared. So when you think about the topic of estate planning you should recognize the fact that yes, you need to plan for the distribution of your assets after your death. But you also need to prepare for the eventualities that go along with reaching an advanced age and the sooner you get started the better.
One of these is the possibility of experiencing a period of time when you are not mentally capable of making your own decisions. It is estimated by the Alzheimer’s Association that some four out of every ten individuals who reach the age of 85 are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which causes dementia.
Including all causes of dementia in addition to Alzheimer’s, upwards of 50% of those who are at least 85 years of age are experiencing dementia, which can make it impossible to make sound personal, medical, and financial decisions. To protect yourself from a court-ordered guardianship you must be proactive and execute the appropriate durable powers of attorney, and this is clearly something you would want to discuss with an elder law attorney.
The other elder law matter that we would like to highlight here is that of long-term care and the costs involved. It is estimated that 70% of people who reach the age of 65 are going to need long-term care, and the costs are extremely high and rising all the time. Medicare does not cover long-term care expenses, but Medicaid will if you can qualify. This too is a strategic matter that is best addressed with expert legal advice.