When you are in the process of planning your estate you are very likely to see a bigger picture. Retirement planning, making preparations for your twilight years, and estate planning all walk hand-in-hand. This is why it is a good idea to identify an estate planning attorney that has a wide focus early on to help you chart a course for the future that addresses all of the eventualities of aging. If you set goals and work toward them over a number of years you will be able to enjoy your active retirement to the utmost and be prepared for the challenges that may come your way when you reach an advanced age.
One of these potential challenges would be the high cost of long-term care. The United States Department of Health and Human Services tells us that 70% of senior citizens will someday need long-term care, so we should all take the matter quite seriously. There are those who are under the impression that Medicare will cover these costs, but in fact Medicare does not pay for long-term care. The cost of a stay in a nursing home went up by 4.6% in 2010 over the previous year, and assisted living facility charges went up by 5.2%, so these expenses are high right now and trending upward.
The possibility of incapacity is another elder law issue to consider. Alzheimer’s disease strikes 40% of people who reach the age of 85, and about half of the oldest old are suffering from dementia, which can make it impossible to make sound medical and financial decisions. If you do not make the proper preparations in advance the court could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act in your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. To prevent this and have your own hand-picked representatives in place you would want to consult with an experienced, licensed elder law attorney.