Wallace Serves as a Reminder for Comprehensive Estate Planning

Mike Wallace was a giant of television news. Although he had not appeared as a correspondent on "50 Minutes" in six years, his presence still permeated the program up until his recent death. Wallace was known as a tough questioner, a relentless interviewer and someone who remained sharp into his late 80s.

However, even a fearsome interviewer like Wallace eventually couldn't continue at his hectic pace. At the time of his death this month at age 93, Wallace had suffered from medical problems for several years, including dementia. This just goes to show that even those people who seem to defy aging still need to complete comprehensive estate planning to make sure all their wishes are carried out.

In the case of Wallace, who spent decades interviewing the rich, famous and powerful around the world, by the end he remembered virtually none of his career exploits. His son Chris Wallace, a newsman in his own right, said that the elder Wallace still asked about his family with great interest as his illness took a toll. But he had next to no memories of his career in television.

People need to plan in advance in case they become incapacitated at some point. Generally a person in that condition is not able to make changes to his or her estate plan, and a court-appointed guardian or conservator might have to be brought in to handle affairs.

While people who are elderly are most likely to have dementia or a similar condition, a debilitating illness or accident could strike someone much younger at an unexpected time. Careful estate planning can cover contingencies that need to be consider should the worst happen.

Source: Forbes, "Mike Wallace Death Underlines Need To Prepare Financially For Risk Of Dementia,"Deborah L. Jacobs, April 8, 2012

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