Estate Planning for Boomers
The baby boomer generation has concerns that are different from Generation X and definitely different concerns than millenials. Given the sheer size of this generation, it is not surprising that they have additional concerns that would affect their entire generation in a way that other generations just cannot see. See the estate planning tips below.
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The Most Important Estate Planning Issue Boomers Need To Address
If you’re like me, with parents who are retired but still very self-sufficient, concerns about elder financial abuse or my Boomer parents’ inability to handle their own affairs is seemingly something that THEIR generation needs to worry about, not me. But as I reflect this Mother’s Day on how fortunate I am to still have both parents living (and quite robustly) into their mid-60’s, I realize that this issue is no longer something for Other People. I need to have these conversations with my mom and dad right now while they are still operating at their best. While I dread the day that things change, acting like it won’t happen won’t make it any easier when one or both of them do need additional help.
Living Well and Living Longer
By the year 2050, it is estimated that 1 out of every 5 Americans will be over the age of 65, with people aged 85+ the fastest growing demographic in the nation. The good news is that people are living longer, even with chronic diseases that used to lead to early death. (92% of seniors are living with at least one chronic disease; 77% with two or more.)
The challenge is that this requires different planning than the traditional practice of simply having a power of attorney in place to help in case of incapacity and making sure the will is up-to-date to include the intended heirs. As this demographic continues to grow, so will instances of fraud and financial abuse of seniors. As approximately 3.5 million Baby Boomers enter retirement each year, the time to make sure your estate planning documents protect you or your parents from fraud and abuse is now. In fact, experts recommend making the bulk of these major financial decisions by age 50.
Beyond the Basics
The big issue here is that when most estate plans are created, particularly with married couples, both spouses are of very sound mind and the natural inclination is simply to name each other as agents in case of incapacity. This is fine, but it’s important to make sure that there are contingent situations addressed as well. For example, what happens if they divorce? Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate doubled for people over the age of 50 and more than doubled for those over 65. Or alternatively, consider a case where neither spouse is incapacitated in terms of being unable to function in daily life, but both need assistance with things like paying bills due to declining writing abilities from Parkinson’s or arthritis.
Having a trusted person named in legal documents to help with those things ahead of time is the best way to make sure that finances are protected without having to give up complete control. So how do you make sure that you, your parents or other aging loved ones have the right plans in place BEFORE they’re needed? Here are some tips and things to consider.
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