Taking care of things that will occur after you are gone is clearly at the core of the process of estate planning. However, to be comprehensively prepared, you should take end of life planning into consideration as well.
There are many possible contingencies, and you should address them when you are fully capable of making preparations. If you do nothing, difficult circumstances could be that much worse.
Though this is not a pleasant subject to contemplate, a very significant percentage of elders contract Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the figure is 45 percent among people who are at least 85 according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Around 13 percent of all people who are 65 years of age and older are suffering from the disease.
There is a very distinct possibility that you will in fact live into your mid-eighties and perhaps beyond. On the Social Security Administration website, there is a life expectancy calculator. You can plug in any age, and it calculates the life expectancy from that point forward.
Using this calculator, someone who is 67 on this day will probably live into his or her mid-eighties. (We should point out the fact that the life expectancy for a woman is slightly higher than the life expectancy for a man.)
When you combine the longevity statistics with the Alzheimer’s data, a clear picture emerges.
Long-Term Care and Decision Making
If you were to contract Alzheimer’s toward the end of your life, you may require nursing home care. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, and it is extremely expensive.
This is something that you should address when you are engaged in your end of life planning efforts. You could take steps that would lead to Medicaid eligibility, because Medicaid does pay for long-term care.
There is also the matter of representation. Who would make decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to make them on your own? You could execute a durable financial power of attorney to name someone to handle your financial affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
With a health care proxy or durable power of attorney for health care, you could name a medical decision-maker. Another advance directive for health care that is recommended is a living will. With a living will, you state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures.
We have focused on Alzheimer’s disease for the most part, because it is a major threat, but there are other causes of incapacity, and people require nursing home care for other reasons. When you consider all the possibilities, you can see why end of life planning is essential.
If you would like to implement a strategy to protect yourself and your family, feel free to contact us through the following link to set up a no obligation consultation: Indianapolis IN Estate Planning Attorneys.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.