It is not uncommon for people to recognize the fact that they should have an estate plan in place but simply drag their feet because they don’t know where to begin. This is understandable, because estate planning can indeed be a daunting task for the uninitiated. For this reason the intelligent course of action is to work with an elder law attorney from the outset who has the experience that it takes to set you on the appropriate course given the specifics of your situation.
One thing to keep in mind when you are considering the subject of estate planning is the fact that there’s more to plan for than the distribution of assets to your loved ones after you pass away. As you approach your retirement years and the twilight years that will follow you have to consider things like the possibility of incapacity, and the costs associated with long-term care.
People are living longer than ever with the oldest old being the fastest-growing age group. Statistics indicate that approximately 25% of individuals who reach the age of 85 are residing in a nursing home at any given time. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of senior citizens will require some form of long-term care. Long-term care is very expensive, with a year in a nursing home averaging over $80,000, and the same period of time in an assisted living facility carrying a cost of nearly $40,000.
When you let the above numbers sink in and consider the fact that the average length of stay for someone who does eventually reside in a nursing home is two and half years, you can see how these latter life expenses can significantly impact your estate. The longer you put off planning, the more difficult it will be to meet your goals. This is why it is so very important to identify an experienced estate planning attorney that you feel comfortable working with as soon as possible so that you can formulate a viable plan that addresses all the eventualities of aging.