As we all know estate planning specifically revolves around the transfer of assets to your heirs after you pass away. This in itself can be done a number of different ways, and the ideal way to proceed is going to be unique to each situation. There are numerous financial vehicles that can be utlilized either alone or in tandem, but unless you are especially well informed with regard to such things it is unlikely that you are aware of all of the possibilities that are available to you. This is one of the many reasons why it is advisable to engage the services of an estate planning attorney when you are making preparations for the future.
In addition, estate planning is one aspect of the larger legal discipline of elder law. So planning for your retirement and the twilight years that will follow is something that is inextricably intertwined with legacy planning. Unless your wealth is extraordinary, if you have specific goals in mind with regard to what you would like to be able to do for your loved ones after you pass away you have to be cognizant of the expenses that you may incur late in your life.
For example, the oldest old (people who are at least 85 years of age) are the age group that is growing faster than any other in the United States today. At any given time 25% of these individuals are residing in nursing homes. The average nursing home stays is approximately 2 1/2 years. The national average charge for a year-long stay in a nursing home in 2010 was over $83,000; the average was $127,000 in the state of New York. So, you could well be looking at some considerable end-of-life expenses, and it should be noted that these costs are expected to rise as the years pass.
The best way to be prepared is to map out a plan as early as possible with the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney who will evaluate your situation, take heed of your wishes, and map out a viable long-term strategy.