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Early planning, lasting protection

Experts say there is much money to handle and protect — money needed to pay for a senior’s care or intended as inheritances.

Despite these tough economic times, many middle- to upper-class people in their 70s and 80s remain relatively unscathed. They typically already own their houses and other real estate, and their money was in more stable investments when the economic downturn hit in 2008. Plus, since many grew up in the Great Depression era, they often are conservative with their money and have socked away plenty. Many also receive pensions that employers increasingly no longer offer, and they receive full Social Security benefits that younger people aren’t sure will exist when they reach retirement.

“We have many people who are down on their luck or unemployed, who are closing in on the current elderly population,” said Kate Mewhinney, director of the Elder Law Clinic at Wake Forest University. “The wealth transfer from today’s elderly is huge.”

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