Estate planning is an important task that many people spend most of their life ignoring. End of life affairs are always difficult to approach because of the logistics and the emotions involved, and some people may be inclined to do as little as possible. But estate planning is something that has broad implications -- it isn't just about "who gets what."
Planning for later life involves planning for a period of time in which seniors should be enjoying their lives as much as possible but may also be at their most vulnerable. Medical issues, intense trauma or a failure of mental health can put aging people at risk, especially if they want to maintain their independence.
But independence may be impossible, which leaves the burden of care to families. Many senior care experts advocate long-term care insurance, which may provide financial support for assisted living or medical care without draining the value of a person's estate. This also opens up possibilities, such as retiring in place instead of moving to other jurisdiction.
One Connecticut-based rest home operator suggests this insurance starting in a person's 40s or 50s. "It should be part of a bigger financial plan. Otherwise, if you wait, you see it as an expense, and keep saying 'I don't need it yet'."
Attorneys are often very helpful in estate planning, including the financial strategies that include the possibility of nursing homes or in-home care. Families and friends would share in the relief that a person is considering their future as well as the future of descendants and other inheritors.