Age with a plan. Aging without a plan is like traveling without a map or destination. Planning ahead allows you to meet your goals for yourself and your family.
The Young Family
The young family is defined to be between the ages of 20 and 40. The major issue for the young family is the unexpected death of one of the spouses. How will the family be able to support itself if one of the spouses passes away. Who will raise the children? How can they protect the security and peace of mind they provided to the children and surviving spouse? Can the surviving family remain in the family home? The primary focus of planning for the young family is how to protect against death and disability.
The Mature Family
The mature family is defined to be between ages 40 to 60. In our middle ages, the focus shifts to how to distribute our wealth and provide for our surviving spouse.
If there are children from a prior marriage, one of the more difficult issues is how to provide for the surviving spouse and the children from the prior marriage.
Can a surviving spouse manage their finances? Can the children handle their inheritance? Are the children without drug problems? Do any children have special needs? The answer to these complex and complicated issues involves the use of a trust.
Senior Estate Planning
Senior estate planning begins at age 60 and lasts until the end of life. The objectives include not only what happens when we pass away but what happens if we don’t pass away. The plan needs to include how we are going to live during our second half of life. How are we going to live our life well with peace and security?
The senior is concerned about having enough income to maintain their lifestyle and quality of life. How to remain independent and live in the home as long as possible. How to maximize government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare? How to protect against catastrophic illness and long-term care ? How to prepare for loss of good health and Independence? How to afford care?
How to protect against one’s spouse becoming ill or needing long-term care? How to prepare for incapacity? What happens if a spouse loses capacity and needs long-term care? What are our options if you or your spouse needs long-term care? Can we depend on our family and friends to help us? Do we want them to help us? What effect will caring for us have on our children’s marriage or finances? Should we buy long-term care insurance? Is long-term care insurance be affordable? How can we protect our savings and home from long-term care and catastrophic illness?
These questions are just a short list of the many senior estate planning issues. Because of the complex planning issues, senior estate planning is best done by an elder law attorney who is knowledgeable in government benefits, taxes, financial products, ,elder planning , and legal documents.
People who do not heed the advice to be prepared for catastrophic illness or long-term care usually find themselves in a crisis. After age 65 a person has a 70% chance of needing long-term care. As a person grows older than 65, the chances of needing long-term care grows exponentially.
Contrary to popular belief, a person who finds themselves suddenly in a nursing home may still be able to protect the majority of their assets. It is only too late to protect assets after the money is spent on nursing home care.