You will hear mention of the senior population explosion often when you are seeking information about elder law and estate planning. The baby boomers are today’s seniors, and this is the fastest growing group of American citizens. Furthermore, people 85 years of age and older are the fastest growing subset of the senior demographic. This has some very profound implications when you are trying to prepare for all of the eventualities of aging.
Nobody is anxious to think about scenarios that aren’t especially pleasant, but a challenging situation is only compounded by a lack of preparation. The above mentioned statistics would indicate that it is very possible that you will live beyond the age of 85. More than half of people over this age suffer from some form of dementia, and physical incapacity is not uncommon at this age either. This is something that is very important to consider and it takes some mental discipline to do so.
To prepare for the possibility of future incapacitation you can reduce the matter to a simple question: who would you like to empower to make medical and financial decisions in your behalf? You can have a different representative for each type of decision, and this is often recommended in many cases. The person that you know who is the best financial mind may not necessarily be the individual that you would want communicating with your doctors about medical matters.
To appoint someone to act as your medical representative you would execute both a durable medical power of attorney (Living Will), and a durable financial power of attorney to name your financial representative. When you have these documents in place you can rest easy with the knowledge that your own trusted representative will be acting in your best interests should you be unable to make sound decisions for yourself at some point in time.