Senior ServicesThe elder law and estate planning attorneys here at Anderson, Dorn, and Rader assist people that are planning ahead to address the eventualities of aging. We also work with concerned family members, and these collaborative efforts are often the most fruitful. Washoe County is a great place to live for many different reasons, with a seasonal climate, a vibrant economy, beautiful nature nearby, and a caring community. That final piece is key, and there are in fact many resources available for elders in our area.
Washoe County Senior Services is a fantastic hub that you can tap into if you would like to gain an understanding of the various different resources that can solve problems and enhance your life. This entity has been around for nearly 40 years at this point, and they are not slowing down anytime soon. Let’s look at a couple of the issues that they help people address on a daily basis.

In-Home Care

As senior citizens reach an advanced age, they often lose loved ones along the way. Of course, they are no longer working in most instances, so they don't have regular interactions with coworkers. As a result, loneliness can set in, and the familiarity that their homes provide can be extremely important to them.
At the same time, the majority of elders will someday need living assistance. This often results in the need for residence in an assisted living community or a nursing home. Although these facilities provide the needed care and the appropriate surroundings, having to leave your home after you have already lost so much can be challenging to say the least.
The good news is that you have options in many instances. If you were to need living assistance, you could potentially modify your home to accommodate your physical limitations. This is going to come with somewhat of a price tag, but staying in an assisted living community can be extraordinarily expensive. So relatively speaking, you could be saving money in the long run by modifying your place of residence.
As for assistance with your day-to-day needs, there are home health aides and homemaker/companions that can be brought in at a price that is affordable considering the high cost of full-time long-term care. Living assistance is just one of the things to consider when you are planning for the future. To formulate a long-term plan that prepares you for all the eventualities of aging, don't hesitate to take action and arrange for a consultation with our firm.

Alzheimer’s Disease

You have to consider all the possibilities when you are serious about planning for the latter portion of your life. Not all of these are especially pleasing to think about, but challenging situations are all the worse if you make no preparations in advance. With this in mind, you would do well to understand the value of incapacity planning, especially in light of how common dementia is among our nation's elders.
The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. While you have certainly heard of this disease, you may not be aware of how widespread it has become. The Alzheimer's Association tells us that some 40 percent of people who are 85 years of age and older are suffering from the disease. Lifespans are getting longer, and in fact, the portion of the population that is 85 and older is growing faster than any other age demographic subset.
When you put it all together you see that it is becoming increasingly likely that you will live into your mid-to-late 80s and beyond. If you do, Alzheimer's induced dementia is a very real possibility. If you make no plans in advance to appoint representatives to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make them on your own, you could become a ward of the state. A court-appointed guardian would handle your affairs, and you may have no input into who would serve this role.
You can circumvent the above possibility by planning ahead intelligently. Through the execution of durable powers of attorney, you can appoint individuals of your choosing to make your decisions for you should you become incapacitated. There are also local resources that can assist Alzheimer’s patients and their families, and they are memory care centers in the area. You can explore the possibilities if you contact the good folks at Washoe County Senior Services.

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Trying to cover all of your bases for when the latter portion of your life rolls around means you have to consider factors beyond simply arranging for the transfer of assets after you pass away. Reaching an advanced age is certainly a milestone, but other detrimental possibilities loom with age, and it is important to be prepared for them.
A lot of people don't realize just how long lifespans are these days. Americans are living longer than ever, with people 85 years and older making the fastest-growing segment of the population. Clearly, when you reach your mid-80s and beyond the possibility that you won't be able to make all of your own medical decisions becomes a real one indeed.
For this reason it is important to select a trusted representative to act on your behalf through the execution of a durable power of attorney for health care along with a living will. With a living will you state your wishes with regard to the use of medical procedures to keep you alive should you become unable to communicate your preferences in real time. The issue of having your life preserved via the use of artificial means when there's no hope of recovery is typically at the core of these documents.
When you look at the facts it is rather startling to see how few Americans have executed these documents. An interactive Harris survey from 2009 found that only 29% of the adults that they polled had a living will in place. Though we emphasize how important these documents are for seniors, they are are also important for younger adults. If you're looking for proof simply recall the highly publicized case of Terri Schiavo, and the protracted legal battle between her husband, who was also her legal guardian, and her parents.
If you are unprepared you could be leaving your family in a very uncomfortable position should life-and-death decisions fall into their laps. You may want to take action and arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney sooner rather than later to execute these important documents.

According to some current research surprising numbers of people are not prepared to retire. There was a poll conducted recently by the Associated Press in partnership with LifeGoesStrong.com that found approximately 25% of baby boomers nearing retirement have little or no retirement savings. A similar percentage said that they would never be able to retire due to financial need. The majority of people who responded stated that Social Security would represent the cornerstone of their retirement income.
The amount of the average Social Security check is going to vary on an ongoing basis because of the fact that people are coming and going from the rolls every day. According to the Associated Press the average monthly benefit is $1082. Clearly, this is not going to be sufficient to finance a comfortable retirement. So if you are under the impression that Social Security will be enough, you may want to research the matter further and evaluate your anticipated financial need.
Social Security benefits are supposed to rise in accordance with the cost of living under certain preset parameters. Inflation had not been sufficient to warrant any increases over the last two years, but the Social Security Administration has announced that there will be a 3.6% COLA for 2012. That's good news for Social Security recipients, right? Perhaps, but this increase equates to all of $39 per month for the average senior citizen who receives Social Security. Any extra money is always welcome, but a little under $10 a week is not going to do a whole lot to change anyone's circumstances.
The best way to proceed given the limitations of Social Security may be to take control of your own financial well-being. If you have not already designed your retirement planning now may be a good time to arrange for a consultation with an experienced retirement planning attorney.

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.
 

When you are engaged in legacy planning you are likely to recognize the fact that the period preceding your death is going to have to be planned for as well. Long-term planning that includes your retirement, your twilight years, and the ultimate distribution of your assets after your death is key if you want to be completely prepared. Mapping out an intelligently conceived path with the assistance of an estate planning attorney is clearly the prudent course of action. People who seem to have all of their ducks in a row as they get older are not lucky; they had the foresight to plan ahead.
One of the things that you need to take into consideration is the high cost of long-term care. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services seven out of every ten Americans are going to need some form of long-term care eventually. There are a lot of people who don't care about this because they are under the impression that Medicare will take care of all of their health care needs once they reach the age of 65.
This line of thinking can get you into trouble because Medicare does not cover long-term care. Medicaid does cover it as the laws stand today, but many people are going to have to plan very carefully to qualify while still retaining a significant portion of their assets.
Another thing to consider with regard to the eventualities of aging is the possibility of dementia setting in. The oldest old (people 85 years of age and up) are the fastest growing age group in the United States, and upwards of half of people who reach this age are suffering from some degree of dementia. Planning for possible incapacity is important, and this is a matter to discuss with your estate planning attorney.
 

Setting goals and giving yourself sufficient time to reach them is essential to long term planning. This is especially important when it comes to retirement planning. Most people work because they need the income to make ends meet. Retirement is not some magical Shangri-La that falls from the sky when you reach a certain age. It is simply a period of time during which you don't work because you have sufficient financial resources to pay your way without earning a paycheck.
There are people who decide that they would like to retire at an early age. These individuals map out a strategy that will get them where they want to be when they want to get there, and they stick to it. For most people the best way to devise such a plan is with the assistance of an experienced retirement planning attorney.
Aside from the sweeping expertise that retirement planning lawyers can provide, they've also seen recipes for success come to fruition through personal experience. The strategies they suggest are not theoretical but proven in the real world.
You're free to do what a lot of people do and make no plans at all, expecting Social Security to take care of all of your financial needs when you reach a particular age. As of this writing full retirement age for people who were born between 1943 and 1954 is 66. It then goes up by two months per year until 1960. Those who were born during 1960 and after are eligible for their full Social Security benefit upon reaching 67 years of age.
There are two problems with this "strategy." For one, the average Social Security payout at this time is $1072, hardly enough to live on comfortably. For another, there's talk in Washington about cutting Social Security, and one simple way to do that would be to raise the full retirement age.
If you don't think you're going to be able to live on $1072 a month, and you don't want to work until whenever the government tells you you have to, you may want to visit a good retirement planning attorney sooner than later.

Making advance plans for the latter portion of your life is always going to be the wise course of action because the reality is that we all get older, we all reach retirement age, and we all eventually pass away. Unfortunately, many people procrastinate until it is too late to their own detriment and to the detriment of their family members. But even people who are proactive about making advance plans are faced with challenges because life does not stand still. Your estate plan at any given time is going to be based on a snapshot of your life as it was when you devised the plan. As things change, your estate plan must be updated to reflect these changes.
One of the first big events in your life that will impact your estate plan is marriage. Though young single people should have an estate plan in place, many do not, but when you get married an estate plan becomes a must. It is very likely that you and your spouse are living a standard of life that requires two incomes to maintain. Should one of you pass away suddenly in an accident or due to an illness, the other individual could be placed in a very tenuous financial situation. This is why it is so important to have sufficient life insurance coverage in place. Advance health care directives are also important for married couples of all ages.
We live in an era when 4 or 5 out of every ten marriages end in divorce, and when your marriage comes to an end you must revisit your estate plan and make sure that you update your beneficiaries. In addition, should you remarry, you and your new spouse must discuss the dynamics of your blended family and create an estate plan that reflects your current situation.
Estate planning is a lifelong process if you are serious about making sure that all of your bases are covered. This is why it is important to identify an estate planning attorney that you feel comfortable with who will gain an understanding of your situation and assist you as you move forward and experience life's inevitable twists and turns.

Intelligent retirement planning that is given enough time to succeed will usually pay huge dividends.  However, the fact is that the future is uncertain and there are no absolute guarantees. Many people thought that they had effective retirement plans in place during the early part of the 21st century, but the financial meltdown of 2008 certainly changed the landscape. Events that are out of the control of the individual such as the sub-prime crisis are difficult to plan for, but the solution is to be flexible, informed, and proactive about doing everything that is within your power to seize control of your own financial destiny.
Being apprised of all of your options is key, and one of these is the reverse mortgage. To qualify for a reverse mortgage you must be at least 62 years of age, own your home outright or have significant equity in it, and you must live in the home as your primary place of residence.  The lender under a reverse mortgage provides you payments  either in a lump sum, in increments, or on an as-needed basis in a manner similar to a home equity line of credit. In return, the lender receives equity in your home.
While you are living in the residence you are required to keep up with routine maintenance and pay the property taxes, and if you were to fail to do these things the loan could be called.  The loan is due and payable upon your death or after you voluntarily choose to move out of the residence. Most of the time the property is sold upon your death and the loan is paid off with proceeds from the sale. If there were a remainder of proceeds after satisfying the debt, it would go to your heirs.  However, if the property is worth less than the outstanding loan amount your estate  is generally not responsible for the deficiency.

The estate tax can be devastating to your legacy, and it is important to take steps to mitigate your exposure for the well-being of your loved ones. At the present time the estate tax exclusion is $5 million but it is scheduled to be reduced to $1 million in 2013 if there are no changes made in the meantime. Believe it or not, the maximum rate of the tax is scheduled to go up to 55% at that time. So for example, if you had a $5 million estate $4 million of it would be subject to a 55% tax. If you do the math that equals $2.2 million. So out of the $5 million that you were able to accumulate throughout your lifetime, your family members would receive $2.8 million and the government would receive $2.2 million.
Of course it is logical to simply give gifts to your loved ones while you are alive in an effort to avoid the estate tax, but there is a gift tax in place as well that is unified with the estate tax. Because of this unification, even though there is a $5 million lifetime gift tax exclusion at this time, it really does you no good because any portion of it that you use to give gifts will be deducted from your available estate tax exemption.
There are however additional exemptions that do not impact this unified exclusion and one of them enables you to pay the college tuition of an unlimited number of students equaling any amount of money free of the gift tax. It should be noted that this exemption does not allow you to pay for living expenses, books and fees. However, there is a $13,000 per person annual exemption that does not impact the lifetime unified exclusion. So you could utilize this to help to cover these costs, and if you are married you and your spouse could combine your respective exemptions and provide your student with as much as $26,000 per year.
 
 

When you are planning for the future it is very important to be apprised of all the facts and trends that are relevant. A vital area to be aware of is the cost of long-term care. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services 70% of people who reach the age of 65 will eventually need some form of long-term care.
People age 85 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the society, and one in every four of these people is residing in a nursing home. The average stay in a nursing home is approximately 2 1/2 years, and the national average cost of a year long stay in a private room was $83,500 in 2010. You may be looking at a nursing home expense exceeding $200,000 at the end of your life.
Some families are able to afford a quarter of a million dollars in custodial care costs but there are others who are not in that position. Others may have invested in long term care insurance to pay the costs of this eventuality. An alternative for others that have insufficient assets to pay for long term care and do not have insurance to pay the costs is the State Medicaid program. To qualify for Medicaid benefits the applicant must not possess more than $2,000 in cash assets. Some assets, such as a primary residence, one vehicle, and most household items are excluded assets.
When a married individual is seeking to qualify for Medicaid benefits his or her spouse is allowed to keep half of the shared assets that are countable up to $109,560.  The non-institutionalized spouse can keep all of his or her income.
To find out if this option is something that you should take into consideration consult with an experienced elder law attorney who can evaluate your specific situation and advise you accordingly.

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.

When someone mentions estate planning you probably think of wills and trusts , but it may be useful to look at the broader picture. We are all aware of the need to engage in retirement planning, and of course preparing for the distribution of your remaining assets to your loved ones after you pass away. But what about planning for the unexpected while you are still living?
Everyone wants to live a long and robust life, and indeed lifespans are expanding and people are living longer than ever. The fact is that the "oldest old," people 85 years old and older, are the fastest-growing segment of American society. So when you examine the data, it is becoming increasingly likely that you will live into your mid-80s and beyond. Though on the surface this can seem like a purely positive development, the reality is that incapacity is very common among people who reach such an advanced age and it must be planned for in advance.
To make sure that all of your bases are covered from a medical perspective estate planning attorneys will generally recommend the execution of advance directives. The two advance directives that are most widely utilized are the living will and the health care proxy. When you draw up a living will you instruct your physician as to your preferences with regard to potential medical procedures. The issue of whether or not you would want to be kept alive on artificial life support systems if your condition was deemed terminal is generally at the core of these documents.
A health care proxy is executed to name someone who can act as your agent and make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so due to incapacitation. Generally, medical professionals prefer to deal with the health care proxy, so a family member or close friend is making the final call, but if the proxy cannot be found, the physician can make the decision based upon the preferences expressed in your living will.

Last year, estate planning attorneys were placed in a difficult position because there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of the estate tax parameters. If the laws stayed unchanged as they were throughout most of the year, the estate tax exclusion would have been $1 million and the rate of the tax would have been 55% at the beginning of 2011. Due to provisions contained in the Bush-era tax cuts, the estate tax was repealed for 2010, but in 2009 the rate of the estate tax was 45% and the exclusion was $3.5 million.
Because of the new tax relief legislation that was signed into law by the president on December 17th, we now have a $5 million exclusion and a 35% maximum rate, but this act is set to expire at the end of 2012. As it stands right now, at the beginning of 2013 the rate of the tax will once again go back up to 55% and the exclusion will revert to the $1 million that was in place in 2002.
All this movement has a lot of people scratching their heads and this is one of the reasons why there is so much support for a permanent repeal of the estate tax. But the reality is that some people have already been victimized and treated differently than others over a period of just a few years. Let's look at a very simple example.
Let's say that you live on a block where everyone has a $5 million estate. If your across-the-street neighbor died in 2007 or 2008 when the estate tax exclusion was $2 million and the rate was 45%, his family would have had to pay the IRS $1.35 million. If your next-door neighbor died in 2009 when the exclusion was $3.5 million with that same amount of money, her heirs would have to pay $675,000. Now if your neighbor on the other side died this year, her $5 million estate wouldn't be taxed at all.
These are hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars we're talking about that could make an enormous difference in the lives of your family members going forward into future generations. Even the most staunch pro-tax advocate would have to admit that there's something fundamentally wrong with the inconsistencies highlighted above.

It is never too early to start planning for your retirement. There are those who are under the impression that Social Security is going to take care of their foundational retirement income needs, and that Medicare will cover all their medical expenses, including long-term care. Perhaps unfortunately, none of the above is the case for most people and this is something to keep in mind when you are looking to the future.
Many people don't take retirement planning seriously. Much has been said of the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age and of the 10,000 new applicants for Social Security lining up esch day. The numbers coming from the Social Security Administration are telling to say the least. Some 64% of people who are receiving Social Security right now say that it is their primary source of income. Even more startling is the fact that Social Security provides at least 90% of the income of a third of its recipients. According to a recent Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll 24% of baby boomers who responded said that they have no retirement savings at all. It is staggering to that the average Social Security benefit is $1074 per month and that so many are relying on it for most of their income.
The most blunt way to put it would be to say don't let this happen to you. Arrange for a consultation with an experienced retirement planning attorney, devise a plan, and stick to it. You will enjoy your golden years more fully without unneccessary concern about the future of Social Security.

When you are planning for your retirement and the ultimate distribution of your assets to your loved ones after you pass away it is important to make accurate projections with regard to anticipated expenses during your post-work years. We all like to stay positive and expect the best, but if you want to plan intelligently you must do so while being prepared for less than pleasant contingencies as well.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services tells us that about 70% of people who reach the age 65 will someday require long-term care either in the home or at a nursing home or assisted living facility.  So the reality is that it is likely that you will someday need this type of care, and the costs are considerable. According to the annual MetLife Mature Market Institute survey the national average for a yearlong residence in a private room in a nursing home was $83,500 in 2010. A year in an assisted-living facility would run you about $40,000 on average.
As you can see, these expenses are an important factor to project into your long-term budget. Below are a few of the ways that people approach the costs associated with long-term care.
Long-Term Care Insurance
You can purchase insurance that will pay for long-term care should you need it at some point in time. The premiums are expensive but the younger you are when you obtain the coverage the more affordable it is.
Medicaid
It is possible for seniors who need long-term care to qualify for Medicaid while still retaining possession of their homes, vehicles, and personal valuables. If you are married and your spouse needs long-term care there are strategies that can be implemented that can enable you to maintain your standard of living and retain your personal assets while your spouse utilizes Medicaid to pay for his or her long-term care needs.
Out-Of-Pocket
Of course, the obvious way to pay for long-term care is to simply take out your checkbook and a pen and write a check. For some people it may take some careful planning to be in this position, but if you are interested in building wealth throughout your life and you get the right advice long-term care expenses should be something that you can absorb. If long-term care insurance has been part of the planning, however, you can both prepare for the need for long-term care and not adversely affect your hard-earned estate.

Before we take a look at a couple of  simple probate avoidance tools, let's examine the reasons why people avoid probate in the first place. For one thing, probate can be quite time-consuming. Depending on the complexity of the estate and whether or not the will is being challenged it can take anywhere from 6-9 months to even multiple years in complicated cases. In addition to the time involved, probate can be expensive, consuming up to 5% of your estate, in addition to extraordinary costs, again depending on the complexity of the matter and the size and scope of your assets.
So if you want to save time and money you may want to arrange for the transfer of assets outside of probate. One way to do this is through the creation of pay on death accounts. You simply open the account at a bank or financial institution of your choosing and name a beneficiary. Should you pass away, your beneficiary would assume ownership of the funds in the account, and this transfer would take place outside of probate. It's as simple as that.
In some states, including Nevada, you can execute a deed conveying your real proeprty to a beneficiary upon your death. Even though the deed is recorded while your are alive the conveyance does not occur until after your death.
Another way to transfer assets to your loved ones outside of probate is to give tax-free gifts. You can give up to $13,000 to an unlimited number of recipients each year free of the gift tax, in essence giving loved ones a part of their inheritance while you are still alive and before probate would be a factor. Other tax free gifts can be made.
And finally, purchasing life insurance is also a very simple but effective and efficient way to provide inheritances to your family members outside of  the process of probate.
These ideas are something to keep in mind as you are contemplating your legacy. But in the end, the best way to implement a comprehensive probate avoidance strategy is with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney who will recommend the ideal combination of estate planning tools given the unique nature of your situation.

Intelligent planning sometimes involves the necessity to work backwards, identifying your long-term goals and then acting appropriately as you walk the path toward achieving them. When it comes to estate planning there are a couple approaches that you can take. Most of us have seen a car passing by us at some point in our lives with a bumper sticker saying something about how the driver is spending the children's inheritance. This is a statement that defines the approach that some people take to their legacies. They intend to spend as much as they can as long as they can make it through their own lives with no particular concern about what may be left over for their children and the rest of their families.
On the other hand, some people take an entirely different approach. As you get into your twilight years and the reality of the end of your life comes into more clear focus you may get that moment of clarity when you truly come face-to-face with your own mortality. Many people who are in this situation find that their own passing is something that they can readily accept, but what is difficult to get past is the reality that they will no longer be able to help their family members should need arise once they pass away. This realization can add a dimension to one's view of estate planning because your legacy is going to be your final opportunity to provide for those you love.
How you choose to approach inheritance planning is a personal matter and no one can say with certainty what is right and what is wrong for the next person. One thing that is certain in all cases is that the best way to optimize your resources and achieve your goals regardless of what they may be is with the assistance of an experienced and dedicated Nevada estate planning attorney.

Those who have begun to take the process of estate planning seriously will invariably find themselves considering the period of time that will precede the actual trigger event. When you engage the services of an estate planning attorney to handle the legalities surrounding the transfer of your assets after you pass away you may want to consider creating a comprehensive plan that also addresses some of the eventualities that you may face toward the end of your life. As unpleasant as it may be for some people to consider, incapacity is one of these contingencies and if you ignore it you do so at your peril.
To evaluate just how likely it is that you may suffer a period of incapacity when you enter your twilight years you need only look at the statistics. According to studies compiled by the Alzheimer's Association, as many as one out of every eight Americans who reach the age of 65 suffer from dementia, most often Alzheimer's Disease. But as you get older, the likelihood of contracting Alzheimer's increases. Some studies indicate that 40% of those who have reached the age of 85, have Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's eventually brings dementia along with it, and dementia can inhibit your ability to make sound financial and health care decisions.
This is why it is a good idea to have the appropriate durable powers of attorney in place as a part of your retirement/estate plan. The "durable" power allows the instrument to remain in place should the grantor become incapacitated. Most people will execute both a durable financial power of attorney and a durable medical power of attorney and may name two different attorneys-in-fact, or agents, whose experience or expertise is appropriate for each respective area.
If you don't have the appropriate powers of attorney in place and you were to become incapacitated, interested parties may have to petition the court to appoint a guardian to act in your behalf and you would become a ward of a person you may not have preferred or even a ward of the state. Providing for this in advance will allow a person to choose their own representatives in advance. This is a vital matter that ought to be part of your planning when you are preparing for the latter stages of your life.

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