Sometimes people who don’t have an extraordinary amount of wealth assume they don’t need to discuss estate planning with an attorney. They are aware of the fact that the estate tax is only applicable to large estates, and they think that only those who are subject to the estate tax should plan ahead.
There are a number of reasons why this is patently untrue, but the one that we would like to take a look at here is the need to plan ahead for possible incapacity.
You undoubtedly understand the fact that some people do become incapacitated. But you may be willing to gamble because you think that it is statistically unlikely that this will happen to you. If this is your stance you should know a few things about Alzheimer’s disease.
This disease strikes at an alarming rate. According to statistics provided by the Alzheimer’s Association about 13% of people who attain senior citizen status (i.e. those who are at least 65) have contracted Alzheimer’s disease.
This percentage may seem relatively small, but if you take it a step further you find that 45% of people who are at least 85 are Alzheimer’s sufferers.
People are living longer and longer lives, and it is quite possible that you will indeed live into your mid-eighties and perhaps beyond.
For the above reasons incapacity planning is a must. This will typically include the creation of a health care proxy and a durable power of attorney empowering decision-makers of your own choosing to handle your affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
If you are currently unprepared for the possibility of incapacity you would do well to execute these important documents with the assistance of a licensed estate planning attorney sooner rather than later.