This topic is not comfortable for everyone to talk about but planning now can make a world of difference later. More than a third of long-term care residents are younger than 65 years of age. This statistic reminds us that we should prepare for the future, and the earlier you start preparing, the better. Here are some steps you should take to prepare for your golden years.
Draw up a Will
You'll want to decide how your estate gets divided up. If you don't decide while you're alive, the state will do it for you. That's why it's important to draw up a will. It's estimated that only 40% of Americans have a will or estate plan set up. Not only will you avoid having the state decide how your estate is divided up, your family will not have to worry as much if you've given them clear instructions as to what should happen when you die.
Draw up a Living Will
Another issue that the state or your family could decide is how to administer your end-of-life care. A living will gives directions as to how much medical care you'll receive beforehand. You might not want to deal with heroic medical care if you've passed 80 years of age. You can let your family and medical providers know your wishes. Absent such a directive, doctors will frequently administer expensive and invasive treatments that are not likely to work on elderly patients.
Buy Life Insurance
As noted above, no one knows when he or she will die. That's why it's important to buy life insurance. This insurance will provide a death benefit, and it can also build cash value over time. The presence of cash value associated with life insurance can be a tax-efficient way to build wealth over time. Additionally, if you die with dependents at home, you'll be able to provide money to care for them in your absence.
Buy Long-Term Care Insurance
Another option for avoiding major costs in your later years is the purchase of long-term care insurance. About one in eight Americans will wind up in a nursing home at some point. This cost can impact even fairly wealthy families. Long-term care insurance can take care of some of the expense that comes from staying in a nursing home or extended care facility. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, and these costs can definitely add up over time.
Staying healthy can be a good way to increase the likelihood you live to old age and avoid some of the costs that are common with aging. Maintaining your health will be easier if you eat well and exercise. Those who take care of themselves are able to stay in their homes longer and are less likely to die young. Also, because you'll be able to hold off on many of the health issues that lead to long-term care, more of your nest egg will be available for your heirs.
Plan now, your spouse or your executor will be happy you took the time to prepare for your end-of-life details. Additionally, your heirs will be happy you took care of yourself because you can leave more of your nest egg for them.