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Why Planning Ahead For The Eventualities Of Aging Is So Important

Dennis D Duffy

Pragmatic and serious minded individuals would do well to plan ahead for the eventualities of aging. It is wise to get started sooner rather than later because there is a Catch-22 here. Incapacity is one of the contingencies that you would be preparing for, and you can't take action if you are in fact incapacitated. This is why advance planning is so important.

Increasing Life Spans Over the years people have developed a deeper understanding of the causes of diseases. As a result many Americans have started to live healthier lifestyles. This contributes to increasing life spans. Advances in medical science are also part of the equation. There are pharmaceutical solutions that prolong lives, there are advanced surgeries, new vaccinations, and other innovations that have allowed people to live longer lives. According to the Social Security Administration, at the present time the average life span for a 65-year-old man is 83 years. For a 65-year-old woman the average life span is 85 years.

Nobody wants to be placed into a difficult situation at any time, but if you knew that a distinct possibility existed that you could face a challenge you would probably want to plan ahead to the best of your ability.

United States Census Bureau statistics indicate that between 2000 and 2010 the fastest growing ten-year age group was the group that is comprised of people who are between 85 and 94 years of age. When you reach such an advanced age the possibility of

Once you reach the age of 85 becoming incapacitated is clearly quite present. there is close to a 50-50 chance that you will have Alzheimer’s disease. The disease strikes one out of Alzheimer's Disease every eight people who reach Everyone has heard of Alzheimer's disease. However, some the age of 65. of the statistics surrounding the disease may come as a surprise to you. The Alzheimer's Association is a great source of information if you want to look into the various ways that this disease impacts our society. According to the Association one out of every eight senior citizens suffers from Alzheimer's disease. We noted previously that the group that consists of people 85 years of age and up is growing faster than any other. Upwards of 45% of people in this age group are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is actually the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Over 5 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Durable Powers of Attorney Most people are aware of the fact that you can select someone to make decisions in your behalf through the execution of a power of attorney. However, a standard power of attorney is no longer in force after the incapacitation of the grantor. To prepare for the possibility of incapacity you could execute legal devices called durable powers of attorney. Because of the “durable” designation these powers do remain in effect in the event that the grantor becomes incapacitated at some point in time. Many people will decide to execute two durable powers of attorney: one for health care decision-making, and another for financial decisions. You may feel comfortable with one particular person making medical decisions. This individual may not be the best money manager that you know. By executing two different powers of attorney and naming two separate respective agents you can have the ideal decision-makers in place. Some jurisdictions allow for what is called a springing durable power of attorney. These devices don't become

With any luck, you are going to live long enough that you will no longer be able to take care of all of your daily needs. That’s not to say that you will be completely helpless, but you will have things that you forget to do or that it would just be better to have someone else do for you. It is important to think about what will happen when that time comes. ●

active until and unless the grantor does in fact become incapacitated.

Revocable Living Trusts Some individuals choose to arrange for future asset transfers to their loved ones after they pass away through the creation of revocable living trusts. The primary reason why they do this is to avoid probate. However, these trusts are very useful for people who are concerned about the possibility of future incapacitation. When you create the trust agreement you can include the choice of a disability or successor trustee. This can be a person, but it could also be a professional fiduciary entity like a trust company.

Living Trusts: Plan Ahead for Your Family's Future Creating Trusts and Living Trusts Put Your Family First

Upon the incapacitation of the grantor of the trust this successor trustee would take over to administer the funds that have been conveyed into the trust.

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About Dennis Duffy

Even if there was no other cause of incapacity, the widespread nature of Alzheimer's disease alone makes incapacity planning an absolute must. While we are largely focused on the value of this type of planning for elders, even younger adults sometimes become incapacitated due to catastrophic illnesses or accidents. As a result, incapacity planning is relevant to adults of all ages. The wise course of action is to consult with a licensed estate planning attorney to create an incapacity plan that is contained within a larger, comprehensive estate plan.


Dennis Duffy combines an extensive background in business with a wide range of legal experience to provide his clients with a uniquely practical perspective. An attorney since 1989, he practices primarily in Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Probate. Mr. Duffy also offers frequent educational seminars on a variety of estate planning topics to both the general public and private groups in the Quad Cities area.

Alzheimer's Association

Iowa Bar Association

1840 E. 54th Street Davenport, IA 52807 (563) 445-7400

Incapacity Planning in the Age of Alzheimer's Disease  

Pragmatic and serious minded individuals would do well to plan ahead for the eventualities of aging. This article aims to explain why planni...