When you hear someone talking about incapacity planning, you may tune out. Of course we are all aware of the fact that some people become incapacitated, but it can seem like something that only happens to “someone else.”
In reality, when you look at the cold hard facts, you will immediately see why incapacity planning is actually important to all of us.
First of all, you should understand the current state of affairs when it comes to longevity. According to the United States Census Bureau, the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 grew faster than any other ten-year age group between the years 2000 and 2010.
To amplify the above, the Social Security Administration tells us that it is likely that you will live into your eighties if you turn 65 on this day. Clearly, when you digest the statistics, you can see that you may well live into your eighties and perhaps beyond.
If you are unconcerned about incapacity planning because you have always been healthy, and you expect to be healthy entering retirement, you may see an incomplete picture. Wouldn’t you think that healthy people would live longer than people who are not particularly healthy?
Once you reach your eighties, incapacity becomes a very real possibility. While there are other causes of incapacity, Alzheimer’s disease strikes 45 percent of people who are at least 85. Many people with Alzheimer’s become unable to make sound decisions on their own, and a significant percentage of Alzheimer’s sufferers reside in nursing homes.
If you can now see why incapacity planning is important, you may wonder how to proceed. Part of the plan will be legal documents called durable powers of attorney. With these documents, you name agents to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
There is also the matter of long-term care costs. Most people will need long-term care eventually, and Medicare does not pay for living assistance. Long-term care is very expensive, and nursing home expenses could consume everything that you intended to leave to your loved ones if you take no steps in advance to brace yourself.
The solution for many is Medicaid. This government program does pay for long-term care, but it takes careful planning to qualify without losing anything, because it is a need-based program, and there are income and asset limits.
Take Direct Action
It is possible to include a solid incapacity plan within a broader, comprehensive estate plan. If you would like to discuss your options with a licensed professional, we can help.
Our firm offers free consultations, and would be glad to answer your questions and help you create a plan if you decide to go forward. To get in touch, send us a message through this page: Grand Forks ND Elder Law Attorneys.
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