Planning For The ‘What-Ifs’

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Estate Planning Needs Of The Elderly

The U.S. population is aging, with all its implications. More and more Americans are approaching a time of life when health often begins to decline, making it important to plan for the future.

The Statistics

The most recent U.S. census found that the percentage of Americans in the 65 plus age group is growing at a notably higher rate than the general population, increasing at a rate of 15.1% as opposed to 9.7% for the population as a whole. As of the 2010 census, seniors over 65 made up about 13% of the population. By 2030, when the last of the baby boom generation moves into that group, the over-65s will be a whopping 19% of the U.S. population. Scottsdale, Arizona, topped the list of cities with a population of 100,000 with the highest percentage of seniors in 2010.

The Time To Plan Is Now

As a member of the aging baby boom generation, you and your family will benefit from consulting professionals in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and health care, including Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home care. If you are in this age group or about to be, it is essential that you document your wishes as to how you want to handle decisions concerning your health care, who will make those decisions on your behalf if the time comes that you are no longer able to make them yourself, who will handle your affairs if you become incapacitated, and how you want your estate distributed on your death.

These are often complex and personal issues, and should only be addressed with the guidance of an experienced elder law attorney.

Services Your Elder Law And Estate Planning Attorney Will Provide

These are some of the services your attorney will offer that will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your affairs are in order and your wishes for an uncertain future have been recorded and are legally enforceable:

  • Drafting your will stating how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. If you are responsible for minor children under age 18, you will need to name guardians and conservators to make decisions about their upbringing and handle their financial affairs until they reach their majority.
  • Creating a living will and durable powers of attorney for health care and finances to ensure that healthcare decisions are made in accordance with your wishes and that a responsible person will handle your finances if you can’t. You can name a guardian and a conservator for yourself in the event you become incapacitated so this decision will not need to be made by a court if the worst should happen.
  • Reviewing your beneficiary designations to ensure that they are up-to-date. This is especially important if you’ve been divorced or remarried since you named various beneficiaries. Ask your attorney if you should make your bank and investment accounts into P.O.D. (pay on death) beneficiary accounts if you haven’t done this already.
  • Creating a living trust so your assets will go directly to your heirs without the necessity of probate, which can take a long time and incur substantial fees.
  • Advising you on how to avoid estate taxes if your estate is a large one, over $ 5.34 million as of 2014. Annual gifting and irrevocable trusts are ways to effectively reduce your estate below the federal estate tax threshold. Fortunately, Arizona no longer has an estate tax.
  • Advising you on how to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid if you require long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living home. A Miller trust may be used to help you qualify for the benefits you need if you have income and assets that fall outside of Medicaid guidelines but need the benefits.

Free Estate Planning Consultation For Arizona’s Seniors

With many years of experience and an exclusive focus on elder affairs and estate planning and administration, the experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at the law firm of Gorman Law Group, PLC, serve the elder population of Phoenix, Scottsdale and the surrounding area. Call us today at 623-278-6102 for a complimentary estate planning consultation.