We are older and presumably, wiser. But just because we are wiser does not mean that life gets easier as we age. In fact, as any senior can tell you, it becomes more difficult. There are three major issues that seniors often face as they age: medical issues, legal needs & difficult family dynamics. A comprehensive Estate Plan can address all three areas of concern.
One of the most troubling aspects of aging is medical issues, such as diminished physical capacity, mental deterioration, or disease. The physical and mental challenges are one key source of stress. The senior may fear losing the ability to make medical decisions for themselves, which can magnify their stress considerably.
Physicians manage the changes of the body and brain, and Estate Planning attorneys can help protect seniors through a written legal document, called a Living Will/Health Care Directive/Advance Directive; they all mean the same thing and convey the senior’s medical desires to their health care providers and their loved ones.
Having a Living Will allows a senior’s voice to be heard so their wishes concerning medical treatment will be honored. And, through a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care they appoint the Health Care Agent who will be their voice for medical treatment, which is especially important at end-of life.
Legal concerns aren’t limited to medical matters but include finances too. A justifiable fear for many seniors is outlasting their savings, especially considering the high cost of long-term care. Having the right Durable Power of Attorney for finances in place can help ensure qualification for government benefits, such as Medicaid, to cover long-term care costs without having to go broke. Medicaid Asset Protection Strategies® are available, and the attorneys at ELG Estate Planning specialize in protecting and preserving assets.
Creating an Estate Plan includes not just the living documents talked about above, but also the Will and Asset Protection Trusts to ensure the senior’s wishes are carried out upon their passing.
Having a good Estate Plan goes a long way in addressing a third concern many seniors have, which is how to deal with difficult family members. It’s not uncommon to have one or more family members who intentionally or unintentionally create problems for themselves or others. A clearly stated Estate Plan can not only protect assets for family members who inherit, but keep disputes to a minimum.
When dealing with difficult family dynamics it’s easy to take the “ostrich” approach and hope the problem will disappear. But we all know better — problems do not just disappear.
The most productive strategy for a senior to deal with all three not-so golden issues is to work with an experienced and compassionate Estate Planning attorney who can listen to their concerns and advise them on the best strategy to make things as easy as possible on themselves and their loved ones after they pass.
Creating an Estate Plan now can make the golden years a lot shinier!