Estate planning services are important for all responsible adults. When you go through life without an estate plan, you are putting your loved ones at risk, and you could also find yourself in a difficult position toward the end of your life.
It is easy for younger adults to decide that they will have time later on to seek out estate planning services. However, this is a very shortsighted approach.
The average lifespan is 78 years, but people of all ages pass away every day. Of course you want to be positive and expect the best, and most people do live normal lifespans. At the same time, you may never get into a car accident, but you have insurance. The same thing could be said for your home. You carry homeowners insurance, but you may never have a claim.
When it comes to estate planning, we are not talking about something that may or may not happen. Everyone will pass away someday, so you should have a plan in place, even when you are relatively young.
The need to plan ahead is important for people who are single, but if you have a spouse who is depending on you, the need to plan is far greater. You certainly would not want to leave your spouse in a difficult financial situation while he or she is grappling with the emotional ramifications of a tragic event.
For parents of minor children, estate planning is an absolute must.
A study was conducted recently by a legal website that yielded some disturbing results. It found that 51 percent of survey respondents who were between 55 and 64 years of age were completely unprepared from an estate planning perspective. This is an attention-getting statistic considering the fact that we are talking about people who are approaching retirement age.
The figure for unpreparedness was 62 percent for people between 45 and 54 years of age.
Without question, estate planning is absolutely essential for people who are in this age group. Things do not automatically fall into place if you die without an estate plan, and you may not be capable of creating an estate plan when you reach an advanced age.
When you look at the statistics, you find that a very significant percentage of elder Americans are in fact unable to handle their own affairs. There are various different causes of incapacitation, but Alzheimer’s disease is at the top of the list. This disease strikes around 45 percent of the oldest old (people who are at least 85). About 13 percent of people who are 65 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s disease.
The widespread nature of Alzheimer’s disease brings up another important reason why estate planning services are essential. Many Alzheimer’s sufferers ultimately reside in nursing homes. Of course, there are also people who are in nursing homes due to other underlying causes.
In fact, almost one fourth of people who are 85 years of age and older are residing in nursing homes. These facilities are extremely expensive. Across the country, the average annual charge for a private room in a nursing home is in excess of $90,000, and people often require care for multiple years.
The Medicare program does not pay for long-term care, so you cannot look in that direction for help if you ever require nursing home care. If you never discussed the eventualities of aging with an estate planning attorney, you may not be aware of all of this very relevant information.
People who are informed often take steps that lead to Medicaid eligibility. This government program does pay for long-term care, but it is only available to those who can demonstrate a significant level of financial need. There is a $2000 limit on assets that are considered to be countable.
You can potentially give gifts to your loved ones before you apply for Medicaid, but timing is important. A penalty is imposed and you have to pay out of pocket for a prescribed period of time if you give away assets within five years of the submission of your application.
A Medicaid trust can be part of the plan, and this is something that you would hear about if you were to consult with an estate planning attorney.
Attend a Free Seminar
As you can see, estate planning services are important for everyone. If you would like to learn more, we have some great opportunities coming up. Our firm will be holding a number of free seminars over the coming months, and you can learn a great deal if you attend one of these information sessions.
Visit our seminar schedule page to obtain more details and registration information.