Estate planning is not strictly confined to inheritance distribution decisions. A comprehensive estate plan will address the eventualities that you may face as you get older, and there are some unpleasant realities that should be confronted head on.
Aging, Alzheimer’s, and Cognitive Impairment
Once you are a senior citizen, it is likely that you will experience life as an octogenarian. When you are in your 80s, your ability to handle your affairs may start to diminish.
Over 30 percent of elders that are 85 years of age and older contract Alzheimer’s disease, and there are other underlying cause of cognitive impairment. If you are in this position, you would not be able to manage your own affairs effectively.
People close to you can petition the state to appoint a legal guardian if you become unable to make sound decisions on your own. This is not a very pleasant prospect, even though it is a necessary safeguard.
There is a loss of privacy, and everyone in the family may not be on the same page. Disagreements can arise during a very difficult time for all concerned, and this is another potential drawback.
Living Trust and Durable Power of Attorney
You can anticipate this possibility and take the appropriate steps when you are planning your estate. If you utilize a revocable living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan, you would be the trustee during your lifetime, and you would have total control of the assets.
When you are drawing up the trust, you name a successor trustee to manage the trust after your death. To account for possible incapacity, you can empower this individual or entity to act as the trustee in the event of your incapacity.
There may be property in your direct personal possession that was never conveyed into the trust. To account for it, you can name an agent in a durable power of attorney for property. They would be able to manage the assets if it ever becomes necessary.
Of course, if you do not have a living trust, you can use a durable power of attorney to name someone to manage all of your financial affairs.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Would you want to be kept alive indefinitely through the use of artificial life-sustaining measures? This is a deeply personal question, and you can assert your answers in a living will.
You can address the different types of life-support measures that can be implemented, and you can include your organ and tissue donation and comfort care medication preferences.
Situations that involve decisions that are not related to life-support utilization can arise. In anticipation of this possibility, you can name a decision-maker in a durable power of attorney for health care.
This individual would not be able to access your medical records unless you include a HIPAA release form, so this will complete the incapacity plan.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
Long-term care costs are another consideration when you are planning ahead for the future. Most seniors will need some form of paid living assistance, and Medicare does not pay for custodial care.
Medicaid will cover these costs if you can gain eligibility, and it is possible to do so without losing anything in the process if you take the right steps in advance.
Access Our Complimentary Worksheet!
We have created an estate planning worksheet that can be used to gain a better understanding of this important process. It is a complimentary resource, so you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity to build on your knowledge.
To obtain access to your copy, visit our complimentary worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
Take Action Today!
When you have a plan for aging in place, you will go forward with peace of mind. Hopefully, you will never be unable to handle all of your own activities of daily living, but you will have a contingency plan.
If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a Glastonbury, CT elder care planning consultation if you call us at 860-548-1000, and you can use our contact form to send us a message.