When you are planning for the future it may be a good idea to recognize the interconnectedness of retirement planning and estate planning. Some people have specific goals they would like to achieve about what they would like to be able to do for their loved ones after they pass away. Most have to keep these objectives in mind when they are formulating a retirement budget. And in addition to your active retirement years it is important to remember that there could be a period of time preceding your death when you’re no longer active, perhaps not even in full control of your faculties. Making sure you are prepared for any eventuality while you are still of sound body and mind is essential.
It is natural to avoid thinking about unpleasant possibilities, but it is far worse for you and your family members to enter into a challenging situation totally unprepared. Statistics released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services indicate that seven out of every 10 people who reach the age 65 will eventually need some form of long-term care. From a financial perspective, you should be aware of the fact that the national average for a year in a nursing home in 2010 was over $83,000, and a year-long assisted-living facility stay averaged almost $40,000.
Another matter that impacts people who have entered their twilight years is that of incapacity. The Alzheimer’s Association states that somewhere in the vicinity of 40% of the oldest old suffer from this disease, which can strip its victims of the ability to make sound decisions. Many of our elders become mentally or physically incapacitated for other reasons as well. This is why estate planning attorneys will recommend execution of durable powers of attorney so that their clients have hand-picked decision-makers in place should incapacity strike.
The best way to proceed is to discuss all of these matters with an experienced estate planning attorney who will make sure you are prepared come-what-may and that your personal wishes are ultimately carried out.