As estate planning attorneys, we focus on matters that are sources of concern for senior citizens. In this post, we will address a particular unpleasant reality that everyone should confront head on.
There is a tool on the Social Security Administration website that you can use to find out the life expectancy of someone using their date of birth. If you plug in the numbers for a person that is turning 67 on this day, the life expectancy is 87 years for a woman, and 85 years for a man.
This statistic can really serve as a wake-up call. If you think you will live long enough to collect Social Security, according to the statistics, you will probably live into your mid-80s and perhaps beyond.
We are all aware Alzheimer’s disease, but it is surprising to hear just how widespread it has become. The Alzheimer’s Association is a fantastic source of information about the disease, and they also offer resources and support.
According to their site, just over 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older have contracted Alzheimer’s. When you are looking at all senior citizens, the figure is 10 percent.
Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and people with this condition become unable to make sound decisions eventually. Many of these folks need a great deal of help with their activities of daily living.
The picture that we are painted to this point is pretty clear, and of course, Alzheimer’s is not the only cause of incapacity.
How to Prepare
Everyone is going to hope for the best, but it is important to make the appropriate preparations given this stark reality.
If you do nothing to prepare for incapacity, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf. You can prevent a guardianship and take the matter into your own hands if you execute certain incapacity planning documents.
Living trusts are widely utilized, and if you have this type of trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well. In the trust declaration, you would name a disability trustee to assume the role if you become unable to manage the trust yourself.
For property that is not in a trust, you can execute a durable power of attorney to give an agent the ability to act on your behalf. A durable power of attorney for health care can be added to account for medical decision-making.
You can use the same person to act as your representative for both purposes, but this is not required.
Nursing home asset protection is another matter that you should address. A significant percentage of people that experience cognitive impairment ultimately reside in nursing homes, and they are very expensive.
Medicare will not pay for a stay in a nursing facility, but Medicaid does cover custodial care. Since Medicaid is only available to people with significant financial need, you have to take certain financial steps to develop the right profile. This is an area of complexity for attorneys.
Attend a Seminar or Webinar!
We go the extra mile to provide educational opportunities to members of our community through our seminars and webinars. You can learn a lot if you attend one of these sessions, and they are offered free of charge, so it is a great opportunity to build on your knowledge.
To see the schedule and obtain registration information, visit our webinar/seminar page. When you identify the session that works for you, follow the simple instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
Need Help Now?
We are here to help if you would like to develop a comprehensive estate plan that includes a comprehensive plan for aging.
You can schedule a consultation appointment right now if you give us a call at 843-815-8580. There is also a contact form on this website you can use if you would rather send us a message. If you reach out in this manner, you can expect to receive a prompt response.