A prolonged illness of a close friend or the death of a beloved family member helps people think about their own mortality, especially if the deceased person died prematurely or without an estate plan. Before thinking about how to dispose of your estate in the event of your death, you will need to make decisions about long-term health needs and housing options, business continuity planning if you own your own business, or a medical care directive, outlining the type of care you wish to receive when you are no longer able to make your own decisions about your health.
There is no time like the present to plan. The life expectancy of Americans is 92.5 while the retirement age is 65. Before going to a long-term care facility, a person can live in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, senior home, or independent home. At each state a person will have different housing and medical needs and enjoy a lifestyle that is active or adventurous.
Elder Planning Toolbox
At Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC, the elder law lawyers develop plans for individuals and families to serve their present and future needs. Particularly because estates are taxed so high when a person dies without a will, states do not make much effort to educate and advise people on how to preserve their legacy for their family and future family members. If there are any incapacitated members of the family or special needs individuals, the best way to care for them into the future is to plan who will do what when you yourself are incapacitated or die. Among the available tools in an elder law plan are legal documents that either manage the affairs of a person while living or distribute their property upon death.
Below are some of the tools used to create an estate plan:
A last will and testament is a written document of a person’s wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death.
A living will is a written statement of a person’s wishes with respect to medical treatment to follow in the event the person is unable to do so on his or her own due to illness or incapacity.
A health care proxy, sometimes called an advance healthcare directive or medical directive, is a written document where a person gives someone they trust the authority to make health care treatment decisions for the person, if the person is unable to do so later due to illness or incapacitation.