Americans and people the world over, are living longer than ever before and while this is generally good news, it can be disconcerting if you don’t have an appropriate estate plan in place. Thankfully, doing your estate planning work in advance with the help of a knowledgeable attorney can give you greater peace of mind that should you ever need long term care, that it would be accessible to you and confidence in your estate and financial planning.

The first stage for protecting yourself for greater longevity is considering long term care. There is a good chance that one spouse of every married couple will at least end up in a nursing home. Traditional long-term care policies might be too expensive, but it’s a good idea to investigate your options now. The second thing to do to prepare for greater longevity is to consider incapacity.

Many people assume that their spouse will have the automatic ability to make financial and medical decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated, but this is not always the case. You should have legal documents that line up directly with your wishes and individual desires. The third thing you should do to incorporate longevity into your plan is to avoid probate. If you were to pass away without assets in your sole name, your loved one may have to go through the painful, expensive and sometimes frustrating process known as probate.

Probate can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars and can take six months to a year or longer. Finally, the last step to consider in your longevity plan is how to minimize taxes. Although federal estate taxes might no longer apply unless you have substantial assets inside, there are other taxes that you might need to consider, including inheritance taxes, estate taxes, and capital gains taxes. Make sure that you consult with an attorney about what to do if this applies to you.

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