The legendary New York Yankee Mickey Mantle once said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself .”
You can extract a lot from this sentiment when you are thinking about your future. It can be hard to envision yourself as a senior citizen, but if you do not make plans you may find yourself unprepared if you live to a ripe old age.
Mickey Mantle only lived to the age of 63, but these days people are routinely living into their mid-to-late 80’s and beyond. As you reach an advanced age, the possibility of incapacitation becomes very real.
In excess of 40% of people who are 85 years of age and older are suffering from dementia, and this is largely due to the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. If you were to become unable to make decisions due to dementia, a guardian could be appointed by the court to make your financial and health care decisions.
To circumvent this possibility, you could take action in advance by executing documents called durable powers of attorney. These powers of attorney remain in effect should the grantor become incapacitated. With these documents, you designate representatives to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.
Incapacity planning is one of the core elements of a comprehensive plan for aging. If you have not yet executed your durable powers of attorney, right now would be a good time to take action and arrange for a consultation with an experienced San Jose area estate planning attorney. My office also offers free estate planning seminars and workshops and I encourage you to view the seminars section of our website for more information on upcoming events.