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Knowing how long you might live, could improve your estate plan

Nobody really knows how long they have left to live, but using one or more of the online actuarial calculators could give you some insight into how you should go about setting up your retirement and estate plan. Retirement planning, estate planning and elder care planning can go a long way in ensuring your quality of life does not suffer because you live 10 or 20 years longer than expected. That is why it is not such a good idea to use average life expectancies that are published by the Society of Actuaries when planning for retirement and long-term care issues.

The odds are fifty-fifty that you will live longer than your average life expectancy - shouldn't you plan for those additional years and what you will do with them? The SOA has a rather simplified life expectancy calculator on its website that shows you not only your life expectancy, but also your odds for living to specific ages beyond your life expectancy.

Other online tools offer a more involved peek into your future life expectancy using lifestyle questions, medical conditions and family history to name a few. One calculator asks you about nutrition and sleep habits and yet another asks you about exercise habits and the state of your emotions to estimate your customized life expectancy. And how does income play a role in your life expectancy? These questionnaires range from five minutes to 15 minutes to complete and will unveil how many years you are expected to have left.

It can be incredibly important to plan for long-term care requirements, such as a nursing home. And what about planning for Medicaid and Medicare, how important is that to your estate plan? If you are planning on leaving an inheritance, such as property or investment assets to your children and live much longer than you thought, you could be required to use those assets to pay for you or your spouse's long-term care.

There are a number of strategies available to effectively plan for a comfortable retirement while at the same time protecting assets for future generations. Simply planning ahead and utilizing the services and an estate and elder care planning attorney can bring you and your family the peace of mind you deserve for a long and happy retirement, however long it may turn out to be.

Source: CBS Moneywatch, "How long will you live?" Steve Vernon, June 26, 2012

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