Planning for the future requires a multi-pronged approach if you want to be comprehensively prepared. The financial components are going to come to the minds of most people first, but there are other things to take into consideration as well.
People don’t usually pass away suddenly when they had been in good health for the days, weeks, months, and years that preceded their death. Americans are living longer than ever before, and in fact people aged 85 and over, are the fastest-growing age demographic subset in the United States right now. Clearly, when you reach such an advanced age the possibility of incapacitation is a very real one, and it is important to be prepared for this contingency. This is especially true in light of the ubiquity of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of every eight individuals who reaches the age of 65 is suffering from Alzheimer’s. As you might imagine, as you get older the possibility of contracting Alzheimer’s disease increases. It is estimated that approximately 40% of people who are 85 and up are Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia. Dementia can make it difficult for people to make sound financial and medical decisions. If you were to become unable to make your own decisions due to Alzheimer’s induced dementia, interested parties could petition the court to appoint a guardian to act in your behalf. You may have no control over who this individual or entity is and you could become a ward of the state.
This fate can be avoided by intelligent incapacity planning. The wise course of action is to execute a durable medical power of attorney and a durable financial power of attorney, empowering individuals of your choosing to make medical and financial decisions for you should you become unable to make them for yourself.
If you have not currently made any preparations for the possibility of incapacity, you may want to take action right now and arrange for a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney.