There are people who view estate planning as something that is separate from retirement planning and the rest of the financial planning that they do throughout their lives. But the fact is that all of this is intimately intertwined, and there is another stage of your life that you should prepare for as well, one that bridges active retirement planning and estate planning.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of American senior citizens will eventually need some form of long-term care. One of the most alarming trends in the elder law community is the growing cost of long-term care. The national average for a year in an assisted-living facility in 2010 was close to $40,000, and the same period of time in a nursing home averaged over $83,000. Considering the fact that the average nursing home stay is about 2 1/2 years these are some very significant expenses, and most people will need to plan carefully to be able to meet them.
In addition, incapacity planning is something that should be considered. We've all heard of Alzheimer's disease, but many people are surprised when they learn that four out of every ten people who reach the age of 85 are Alzheimer's sufferers. Alzheimer's causes dementia which can strip you of your ability to make sound decisions on your own, and of course the oldest old can experience diminished faculties due to other causes. For this reason, it is a good idea to have powers of attorney in place, empowering attorneys-in-fact to act in your behalf should you become unable to handle your own affairs.
As you can see, retirement planning, estate planning, and making sure that you are prepared for possible eventualities that could take place during your twilight years are all connected. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you put a comprehensive long-term plan in place.