When you are interested in planning your estate, you can’t help but think about the period of time that will precede the trigger event, and of course this is as it should be if you want to make comprehensive plans. You may have very specific goals that you want to accomplish with your legacy, and how well you plan for the latter stages of your life will have a significant impact on what it is that you have to leave behind to your loved ones.
When you have the larger picture in mind there are things to consider beyond the financial components of your estate plan, and foremost among them would be matters pursuant to health care. People are living longer and longer these days, and given the advances that take place in medical science on a regular basis, it is logical to assume that this upward trending will continue. As it stands the oldest old, people who are least 85 years of age, are the fastest-growing group in the country. At the same time, four out of every ten of these elders is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and upwards of half of them are experiencing dementia in one form or another.
The fact is that there is a very real possibility that you will be unable to make medical decisions on your own behalf toward the end of your life. For this reason it is a good idea to state your intentions via the execution of a living will and appoint an attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf via the creation of a health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney. When you have these documents in place, you leave nothing to chance and you can be certain that your wishes will be carried out and a person of your choosing will be the ultimate decision maker should incapacity befall you at some point in time.