As you prepare your assets for eventual distribution to your loved ones after your death it is a good idea to consider the eventualities that you may be facing during the latter stages of your life. To plan well for the future you have to be able to make intelligent projections, so your expected lifespan is a very relevant piece of information. At the present time the average lifespan in the United States is 78 years, but people are living longer and longer. In fact, the oldest old (people 85 years old and up) are the fastest-growing age group in America. So indeed, it is quite possible that you will live well into your 80s and perhaps longer.
One of the things that you should keep in mind when you consider this type of longevity is the possibility of incapacitation. Though we’ve all heard of it, a lot of people are not aware of just how widespread Alzheimer’s disease has become. According to the Alzheimer’s Association approximately 13% of people who reach the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. 43% of individuals 85 years of age and up have Alzheimer’s, and of course Alzheimer’s causes dementia which can make sound decision-making impossible.
If you were to become unable to make your own decisions due to mental incapacity without planning ahead the court could appoint a guardian to act in your behalf and you would become a ward of the state. This is not something that appeals to many people, and the way that you avoid this fate is by engaging in intelligent incapacity planning.
You can proactively appoint attorneys-in-fact to act in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation through the execution of durable powers of attorney. In this manner you leave nothing to chance, and if you were to lose your ability to make sound decisions trusted people of your own choosing would be empowered to handle your affairs.
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