Personal Care Planning
Years ago, estate planning attorneys only had four issues to deal with:
How minimize Federal Estate Tax.
How to avoid probate.
How someone wanted their property distributed.
Who would be guardian of any minor children.
Today, the focus has changed from issues related to “after death” and areas that dealt with “quantity” to issues related to “until I die” and quality of life. Most people today are not so concerned with who gets their property when they die, as they are with, “will I run out of money before I die?” Today, the question of guardian does not revolve around who will be the guardian of my children, rather, “who will be my guardian.”
Statistics show that at least 50% of all people are likely to spend the last 2-5 years of their life in some type of care facility that will help them with daily living activities that they can no longer perform themselves. These are called “The Gray Years.” For most of us, it is not a matter of “if”, but “when” we will experience being unable to totally care for ourselves.
The “aging crisis” that is coming upon America also tells us that the availability of resources, both people and places, for people to obtain care is going to be outstripped by the numbers of people who have needs. This makes “planning” an essential part of any consideration involving retirement or when someone plans to reduce their vocational activities.
In addition to selecting one’s guardian, consideration should be given to matters such as who will be permitted to visit you in a care facility or hospital; who will have the authority to make the decisions that you are unable to make involving your daily quality of life? Who will have authority to access your health records to assist in those decisions? Federal law now severely restricts who is authorized access to your medical records.
Durable powers of attorney for health care and estate management are now key planning documents along with other “quality of choice” documents that should be executed before your capacity to do so comes into question.
When you go on vacation you pick out your airline schedule and hotel accommodations ahead of time. Why not consider the accommodations you will live in later in life now? Does anyone know whether you like to read or watch TV? Read what? Watch what? If you become unable to communicate your preferences, who will make those decisions for you? If you hate cooked carrots, will anyone know?
Personal Care Planning is about getting involved in your future — now!