As the baby boomer generation continues to age, and as 10,000 of them reached the age of 65 every day, the importance for members of this generation to have a complete estate plan increases by the minute. As we age, our needs, desires, and abilities change, sometimes drastically. Having an estate plan that addresses boomer-specific issues is absolutely essential if you are a member of this generation. Moreover, if you created an estate plan long ago but have yet to update it, or have not started the estate planning process, knowing what issues you will need to address when you create or modify your plan will help you more easily get through the process.
Baby boomers are at the age where they have spent a lifetime acquiring property, wealth, and assets. Understanding what options you have when it comes to distributing those assets to your beneficiaries is essential when you craft an inheritance and estate plan.
For example, while the issue of estate taxes has diminished significantly in recent years, there is still a possibility that your estate might have to pay a portion of its value as a federal estate tax. A good inheritance plan will allow you to minimize any potential taxes your estate might have to pay, and can, in some instances, prevent your estate from having to pay any of its value as an estate tax.
Even though none of us like to think about it, the possibility that we might one day become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make our own decisions is a very real issue that baby boomer estate plans have to address. When you craft an estate plan you will make decisions that will allow others to represent your interests in the event you lose your capacity.
Now that you are older, and perhaps have children or even grandchildren, you might reconsider the incapacity planning choices you once made. Specifically, for example, you might need to choose someone other than your spouse or sibling as your medical representative. This is primarily because as you and your peers age, your peers might similarly be unable to represent your wishes because they too have lost capacity.
Along with the loss of capacity comes a change in how and where you might need to live in the future. Specifically, we are talking about the possibility that you might have to move to a nursing home, assisted living center, or other type of elder care facility. Should you require such care, and if you do not have long-term health care insurance, you might need to have a plan in place that qualifies you to use Medicaid to pay for the long-term care costs associated with such transitions. Failing to have a Medicaid plan in place could mean that you’re forced to use your personal assets to pay for these potentially exorbitant costs. Recent studies revealed the median price for a nursing home is in excess of $90,000 per year, and rising fast. At that level it wouldn’t take long to destroy the inheritance of even a modest estate.
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