In the past couple of weeks we have looked at estate planning issues for Millennials and members of Generation X, but this week we thought we would turn our attention to the aging baby boomer generation and the estate planning concerns they need to think about. Baby boomers are running headfirst into retirement, reaching the age of 65 at a rate of 10,000 individuals per day. With age comes wisdom, and baby boomers need to be aware of the important estate planning issues that might affect them. If you are a baby boomer and have not already crafted an estate plan, or are someone who created a plan a long time ago and have not updated it recently, there are several baby boomer issues you might need to think about.
Baby Boomer Estate Plans and Incapacitation
A lot of baby boomers are experiencing significant health concerns that they hadn’t had to worry about before. Issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and other medical problems often lead people to consider what they want to happen to them should they develop a terminal medical condition. If such were to happen to you, do you know the kinds of medical care or treatment you would want to accept or refuse? Do you know who would make medical choices for you on your behalf?
Baby boomer estate plans must include incapacity planning tools exactly for these reasons. Being able to communicate your medical wishes when you have lost the ability to communicate, as well as being reassured that someone you trust will be there to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity, is essential as you get older.
Baby Boomers and Blended Families
If you are one of the many baby boomers who has been married and divorced once or more, or who has a blended family of any kind, addressing a variety of estate planning concerns that might affect your family situation is essential. For example, you need to be clear what kind of inheritance choices you want to make when it comes to your blended family, as well as be clear to your loved ones about what decisions you made and why you made them so as to prevent any potential conflicts arising in the event of your death or incapacitation.
Baby Boomers and Medicaid Plans
The likelihood that you will need to spend at least some time in a nursing home or assisted living environment increases dramatically the older you get. For people age 65 and older, having a Medicaid plan that will be there to pay for the expenses associated with long-term care costs can be essential. Should you fail to craft a Medicaid plan and are forced to use your personal funds to pay for long-term care expenses, you could deplete your assets significantly even if you only have to spend a relatively short amount of time in an eldercare facility.