The U.S. population is aging, and baby boomers, the largest generation in history, have entered retirement age in recent years. Yahoo Finance’s recent article, “Elder Law Is More Important Than Ever. Why? Baby Boomers,” says that medical care has extended life and physical ability and grown more sophisticated.
“Questions surrounding mental competence, duration of care, and nature of treatments have become increasingly difficult to answer. The result has been a medical system that often implicates legal questions of individual autonomy, with some of the highest stakes that the courts recognize,” the article explains.
Estate Planning. Trusts and estates is the area of the law that governs how to manage your assets after death. You create trusts to hold, oversee and distribute assets according to your instructions. While they can be created when you’re alive, most establish trusts for handling their property after they’ve passed away.
Disability and Conservatorship. As you get older, your body or mind may fail. This is known as incapacitation. It is generally defined legally as when someone is either physically unable to express their wishes (such as being unconscious) or mentally unable to understand the nature and quality of their actions. If this occurs, you need someone to assist with activities of daily living. Declaring an individual mentally unfit or incapacitated is a complicated legal and medical issue.
Power of Attorney. Most seniors use power of attorney to plan for two main situations: (i) a medical power of attorney for family members to assume your care in the event you’re physically incapacitated for some reason, and (ii) a general power of attorney allows you plan for someone to manage your affairs, if you’re judged mentally incapacitated.
Medicare. Every American over 65 will most likely deal with Medicare, which provides no-cost or low-cost healthcare for those 65+. Almost all seniors enroll to receive at least some medical benefits under this program. Health care becomes an increasingly important part of your financial and personal life as you age. It’s important for the elderly to know their rights and responsibilities regarding healthcare.
Social Security. This is the retirement benefits program to help ensure that U.S. seniors have money on which to live. For senior citizens, understanding how these programs work is often essential. This is particularly true given the increased footprint that medical care plays in the lives of senior citizens and the complexities brought on by increasingly mobile seniors.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (Sep. 13, 2023) “Elder Law Is More Important Than Ever. Why? Baby Boomers”