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Increasing longevity shifts estate planning focus for many

Statistics Canada says that the fastest growing age demographic in the country is those over the age of 80. Estimates indicate that by around the year 2036, 3.3 million Canadians will fit this demographic. This trend could significantly shift the focus of estate planning.

When considering estate planning, most people here in Canada think about disposing of their property after death. That thinking neglects an important part of the process -- planning for incapacity and long-term care. This part of planning an estate requires more attention than it would otherwise receive.

Since baby boomers should receive inheritances in the coming years, they could benefit from using that wealth to prepare for their own long-term needs. In addition to a will, an individual could use a trust as part of the preparation for old age. In addition, powers of attorney forĀ finances and health care will keep family members from having to go to court in order to obtain the right to make decisions on behalf of a loved one who can no longer do so on his or her own.

The cost of housing and other needs for a longer time could prove expensive over the years. The sooner these types of estate planning arrangements are put into place, the better the chances are that the resources will be available when needed. This could also allow an individual to preserve enough wealth to pass onto loved ones after death as well. Otherwise, all of the assets of the estate could go toward caring for him or her, which would leave nothing left for heirs and beneficiaries.

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