In the wake of the changes to federal tax law at the beginning of the year, many of our Michigan readers may have seen previous posts here about updating an estate plan to account for the differences from previous years. There is no doubt that tax planning is an important part of protecting assets, which in turn is one of the primary goals of estate planning. However, there is more to an estate plan than simply designating property distribution upon death. People in America are living longer, and as such many people, including many Michigan residents, will probably need to start thinking about long-term planning and retirement when they consider their estate plans. A recent article discussed many of these considerations.
The end of one year and the beginning of another probably has many of our Michigan readers thinking of what options are best for them when it comes to financial decisions. As our nation's leaders spend the beginning of the year working toward trying to figure out how much each of us should be paying in taxes, they are also working on changes to some government benefits, which could include Medicaid and Medicare. When the dust finally settles on these issues, our Michigan readers will probably want to make some tweaks to their long term planning, and one recent article has suggested that it may be time for many to consider long-term care insurance.
Michigan residents have many different areas to cover when it comes to constructing a comprehensive estate plan. Most everyone will need a will and a couple of different forms of power of attorney. Some will need to consider trusts, which can be one of the best methods of protecting assets. However, when it comes to estate planning, many people may not even think of one particular area, which can be even more important than all the others: long-term planning.
Most of our Oakland County readers would like to have a financial plan. But what does that mean, really? Does it just mean saving for retirement? Or how about budgeting household expenses and saving specifically for "splurge"-type expenditures like vacations? While these types of steps can absolutely make up part of an overarching financial plan, some people don't think to take care of what can be the most important parts -- long term planning and estate planning.
Ever heard of the "sandwich generation"? Most of our Michigan readers probably haven't, but apparently this is the term that some use to refer to the children of baby boomers, mostly because these are the people who will find themselves supporting both their parents as they age and require long-term care, and their own children as they set out to attend college.
Our Detroit-area readers have probably seen previous posts that discuss the importance of considering future medical expenses and long-term care when forming a comprehensive estate plan. While it is obvious that no one can predict every aspect of the future, making certain financial preparations can help prevent some of the stress that many people experience in the absence of a clear plan.
Previous posts have encouraged Michigan residents to account for long-term care when developing an estate plan. It is often one of the most overlooked aspects of future-needs planning. Arranging for long-term care often includes scheduling affairs to ensure elder years are comfortable and that assets are maintained to pass down to designated beneficiaries.
Elderly citizens in Michigan may soon see more options for long-term nursing home care. State health officials plan to file for approval of a system that aims to better manage long-term care for seniors who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
In the case of America's population in general, and Michigan's especially, statistics show that people are living longer. Michigan's population percentage of people 65 and older is greater than the national average, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. What the statistics don't show is that not everyone is preparing for this new reality in their early-life estate planning.
Many Michigan residents may already have an estate plan which they believe is sufficient to their end-of-life wishes. But sometimes estate plans that seem water-tight are filled with tiny holes that can develop into larger ones. To take this holey metaphor further, the puncturing object in some estate plans may be technology itself.