It used to be that the final days of a person’s financial life, were when they reached their 60s or 70s. However, today, that’s just the start.
A generation ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a 90-year-old person still making decisions and still managing the family’s wealth.
Baron’s recent article, “Planning Ahead for Longer Lifespans,” says that people are just living longer, well into their 80s and 90s. But there’s a problem: people, even wealthy ones, aren’t preparing to live longer.
Once people reach their late 50s or early 60s, they’re likely to live into their mid-80s or beyond.
That’s a long period of time, but it’s manageable, if it is planned for.
One of the biggest fears many people have is cognitive decline. Therefore, they need to put a plan in place for managing the family’s investments or the family business, should the head of a family suffer from dementia.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is one example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Those with dementia may have issues with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments, or traveling out of their neighborhoods.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia. That means it’s a very real scenario for many families.
With the legal murkiness around what is “competence”—with even doctors disagreeing on a definition—families should be clear about what should occur in the event of cognitive decline. The fact that many families haven’t done this kind of planning, is already creating a big increase in litigation. Add this to your estate planning and to your family discussions about aging.
Reference: Baron’s (June 8, 2018) “Planning Ahead for Longer Lifespans”