There are people who think that things will take care of themselves as the years pass, but the reality is that each of us must take responsibility for our own futures. There is more to planning for the latter stages of your life than simply anticipating your Social Security check and drawing up a last will.
You will eventually have to fund your retirement years if you do in fact expect to retire, and Social Security, even if it still exists in its present form by the time you retire, is probably not going to be enough. So if you want to be truly prepared you must anticipate your expenses and devise a plan that enables you to meet them comfortably.
There's also the possibility of incapacity. Approximately four out of every ten people who reach the age of 85 are suffering from Alzheimer's disease according to the Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer's causes dementia, which can make it impossible for its victims to render sound financial, personal, and medical decisions. If you were to become incapacitated without making any advance plans, the court could appoint a guardian of its choosing to act in your behalf and you would become a ward of the state. This is a possibility that can be circumvented through the execution of the appropriate durable powers of attorney.
Of course there is also the matter of your legacy. Do you have specific things in mind that you would like to be able to do for your family members as your final act of giving? Do you perhaps have the desire to give something back to your favorite charitable organizations? If you do, these intentions will have an impact on your budgeting for the period of time that precedes your passing.
Because of all the different matters that must be addressed, it is a wise idea to tap into the expertise of an experienced estate planning attorney who has a thorough understanding of retirement and estate planning. He or she will advise you appropriately so that you can be sure that all of your bases are covered as you enter the latter portion of your life.