If you are one of the many baby boomers that are currently heading into retirement age, it’s important that you make plans for the future of you and your spouse in terms of healthcare. Unfortunately, health issues are part of aging. And while it’s not something we typically think about, there are legal challenges that could be presented to you and your loved ones as part of your getting older.
“Elder law” is somewhat of a catchall term for all of the laws concerning the physical, financial, and emotional needs of seniors. These laws protect senior citizens from everything from fraud to neglect. The reasons these laws are in place is that many seniors are more vulnerable than younger adults. This is especially true if they have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to make decisions for themselves. You can safeguard yourself in the future by taking steps now to protect your self-interests down the road.
As we enter retirement age, there are several legal concerns that may come up pertaining to our health. For example, what would happen if you were to become incapacitated? Who would be responsible for making medical and financial decisions for you? Something else to consider would be how you will pay your medical costs in the event that you require long-term care. These are very real concerns, which is why it’s so important to have a plan in place for your future medical needs.
The thing about incapacity is that it doesn’t always come on gradually. Yes, there are medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, that may develop over time. However, senior citizens are also much more prone to serious injuries that could incapacitate them. In any case, it’s vital that you appoint one or more decision-makers to look after your best interests if you are not able to do so yourself. If you haven’t done so already, talk to your legal advisor about who you want to give power of attorney to. If you fail to do so, then the decision may be left up to a judge. A little planning will make a difficult time easier on your loved-ones and will protect your privacy and best interests at the same time.
After the age of sixty-five, around half of all Americans will require long-term care at some point in their life. If you or your spouse require long-term care, it could be a major financial strain. With nursing homes costing tens of thousands of dollars per year, people with spouses in long-term care often find that they’ve completely underestimated how much their medical care would cost in such a situation. As a result, couples find that their retirement funds and other assets are quickly depleted.
Researching long-term care insurance, along with getting legal counsel on setting up a medical power of attorney are the best steps you can take to be prepared in the event that you or your spouse becomes incapacitated. Our seasoned legal professionals can help you with this and any other matters concerning your estate including wills and trusts.