Members of the Baby Boomer generation are now entering retirement at a rate of approximately 3.5 million each year. As these Pennsylvania residents continue to age, they will begin to have specific needs that must be addressed. Those needs can best be looked after through through and informed long term care planning, as part of a larger estate planning package.
A common issue that many older people face is the fact that they created their estate plans many years before those plans would need to be called into effect. Early planning efforts are admirable, but many people fail to alter those plans as circumstances shift. An example is found in the common choice of each spouse naming the other as their agent in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury.
A problem arises when a couple is fortunate enough to grow old together, and then begin experiencing cognitive decline at around the same time. This could result in a situation where one spouse requires the other to act as his or her health care or financial proxy, but when the named spouse is not capable of fulfilling that role. That outcome will defeat the intended purpose of naming a power of attorney.
The best way to address this issue is to periodically review existing estate planning documents, and to make alterations as time goes on. At some point, it may make sense to name a child or other trusted party as power of attorney for both spouses, so that the right decisions can be made in regard to medical care and other matters. Having the guidance of a long term care planning professional can give Pennsylvania residents the confidence to create a plan that works for their specific set of needs.
Source: Forbes, “The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address“, Kelley Long, May 8, 2016