Estate Planning is important at any age. The type of planning required is different across the generations, such as during the earning and accumulating years, during the planning years in which a family is growing, and during the protecting years as a person approaches retirement and beyond.
One common denominator for all generations is the need for and importance of Advance Directives. Young and old, rich and poor should have a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will. These legal directives ensure that appropriate agents are designated to make financial and health care decisions should an individual be unable to do so themselves.
Baby Boomers should focus on both estate planning and asset protection planning. In many cases, this can involve establishing a living trust and funding the trust with real estate and/or liquid assets. Transferring assets will begin the five year look-back for asset protection and Medicaid eligibility purposes. If there is no health care crisis within those five years, all of the transferred assets will be protected and can be inherited by loved ones.
Planning ahead allows for a maximum amount of assets to be protected. But one size does not fit all; there are many case-specific issues that effect estate and asset protection planning. Only an experienced Elder Law attorney can properly analyze each situation and make the best recommendation.