The fastest growing age group in Michigan and elsewhere in the country consists of those 55 years of age and older. They are known as the baby-boom generation, those who were born in the years after World War II. As they near retirement age, or are already retired, there are special issues regarding retirement planning and estate planning that they and their loved ones should be aware of.

Elder law retirement plans should address particular issues such as end-of-life care, including medical directives, power of attorney documents in the event one becomes incapacitated, and documents that can help protect one’s assets. These can all be incorporated into trust documents that can help to protect one’s assets while one is still living. A will only applies following one’s death.

There are multiple documents that can be incorporated into a trust. One is an irrevocable trust known as the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) that, unlike a revocable trust, can protect your assets from nursing home costs after a specified period of time. Inheritance trusts can also be created to ensure that assets go to one’s children and grandchildren in the event that someone divorces and remarries. A trust can also aid in avoiding probate, which allows the estate to remain private.

Estate planning can be difficult to undertake as one may not wish to face one’s own mortality. But as people age the need for a comprehensive plan can become more acute. A person in Michigan who is considering establishing a plan, or wishes to review an existing plan, may wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can review the plan and help to ensure that one’s final wishes will be carried out successfully.