When you are delving into the subject of estate planning you may well wind up seeing a larger picture as you recognize how each stage of life is interconnected. Retirement planning leads into making preparations for the period known as your “twilight years,” and of course it will end with the distribution of your assets to your loved ones after you pass away. The ideal course of action is to devise a plan with all of these different phases in mind. Here are a couple of elder law issues to consider.
The rapid aging of the population is one of the most talked about subjects in elder law circles. The age group that is known as the “oldest old,” those 85 years of age and up, is the fastest growing segment of the population. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 40% of the oldest old are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This disease causes dementia, and of course dementia can render its victims unable to make sound decisions. For this reason and others, incapacity planning is an important component to any modern, comprehensive estate plan.
The other elder law issue that I would like to shine a light on is the high cost of long-term care. A lot of people think that long-term care is probably not going to be necessary, but the statistics tell a far different tale. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 70% of people who reach the age of 65 will need long-term care at some point in time. The costs of such care are exorbitant and on the rise, and Medicare does not cover long-term care expenses. It is possible for some people to qualify for Medicaid, which does pay for long-term care, but it requires proper planning. This is something that you would want to discuss with your estate planning attorney.