There is no doubt that Americans are living long lives. It is not uncommon to read a local Michigan story about an individual reaching the 100-year-old mark and still enjoying life. Whereas the life expectancy of the average person was relatively low only a few generations ago, now many people comfortably survive into their eighties and nineties.
Many people spend tons of time preparing and planning for some things--like a wedding or a vacation--and virtually no time on other important issues--such as long-term care. The problem is that many Michigan residents do not like to think about a time when they may become partially or fully incapacitated or need to rely on the care of others. Long term planning is crucial, however, for those who want to protect their interests and their families and ensure that their wishes are carried.
The end of one year and the beginning of another probably has many of our Michigan readers thinking of what options are best for them when it comes to financial decisions. As our nation's leaders spend the beginning of the year working toward trying to figure out how much each of us should be paying in taxes, they are also working on changes to some government benefits, which could include Medicaid and Medicare. When the dust finally settles on these issues, our Michigan readers will probably want to make some tweaks to their long term planning, and one recent article has suggested that it may be time for many to consider long-term care insurance.
Michigan residents have many different areas to cover when it comes to constructing a comprehensive estate plan. Most everyone will need a will and a couple of different forms of power of attorney. Some will need to consider trusts, which can be one of the best methods of protecting assets. However, when it comes to estate planning, many people may not even think of one particular area, which can be even more important than all the others: long-term planning.
Most of our Oakland County readers would like to have a financial plan. But what does that mean, really? Does it just mean saving for retirement? Or how about budgeting household expenses and saving specifically for "splurge"-type expenditures like vacations? While these types of steps can absolutely make up part of an overarching financial plan, some people don't think to take care of what can be the most important parts -- long term planning and estate planning.
Ever heard of the "sandwich generation"? Most of our Michigan readers probably haven't, but apparently this is the term that some use to refer to the children of baby boomers, mostly because these are the people who will find themselves supporting both their parents as they age and require long-term care, and their own children as they set out to attend college.
Previous posts have encouraged Michigan residents to account for long-term care when developing an estate plan. It is often one of the most overlooked aspects of future-needs planning. Arranging for long-term care often includes scheduling affairs to ensure elder years are comfortable and that assets are maintained to pass down to designated beneficiaries.
Elderly citizens in Michigan may soon see more options for long-term nursing home care. State health officials plan to file for approval of a system that aims to better manage long-term care for seniors who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
In the case of America's population in general, and Michigan's especially, statistics show that people are living longer. Michigan's population percentage of people 65 and older is greater than the national average, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. What the statistics don't show is that not everyone is preparing for this new reality in their early-life estate planning.
The latter years of life, lovingly dubbed the "Golden Years," aren't always as easy as they should be. Unfortunately, many people reach these late-in-life years only to discover that a lack of long-term planning has left them unable to pay for the care they will need to combat failing health. While it is natural for one's health to deteriorate with age, for some people failing health is a more serious concern than for others. That is why planning ahead for necessities like long-term care should be considered vital to maintaining a good quality of life, not only for residents of Michigan, but for people all over the United States.