Estate planning is traditionally looked at as an exercise that involves preparing your assets for distribution to your loved ones at the time of your death. This is certainly part of the exercise but there’s more to it, because the fact is that people usually go through a period of decline due to advanced age before actually passing away. So, estate planning is considered to be one important aspect of the broader specialty of elder law, and most estate planning attorneys also consider themselves to be experts in this more comprehensive discipline.
For this reason, elder law attorneys must stay abreast of current trends that impact the senior citizen population significantly. One of these issues that must be considered by anyone who is interested in crafting a comprehensive plan that addresses all the eventualities of aging is that of Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone has heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but unless you have been personally touched by the disease you’ll probably be surprised to hear just how ubiquitous it is.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes one out of every eight people who have reached the age of 65. Once you reach the age of 85 the likelihood that you will be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease increases to 40%-50%, and more than half of the oldest old suffer from reduced cognitive abilities for one reason or another. When you consider the fact that around 10,000 people are applying for Social Security for the first time every day is clear that the number of people who have Alzheimer’s disease will be growing significantly in the years to come.
Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia, which can strike with varying degrees of severity. Clearly, dementia as a result of Alzheimer’s disease is usually going to make it very difficult for you to make sound personal and financial decisions.
Intelligent estate planning does not revolve around gloom and doom scenarios, but it does include pragmatic preparations for realistic possibilities. When you consider the fact that 13% of senior citizens are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that upwards of half of the oldest old are stricken with the disease, working with your estate planning attorney to make sure that you are prepared is the only logical course of action.