Although retirement is an important milestone in a person’s life, many people aren’t able to enjoy this phase because they failed to properly plan their estate. It is crucial to occasionally review and update your estate plan so that you are prepared for the years ahead. In this blog, we tell you the things you need to include in your estate plan for retirement.
When you think about which assets you want to leave for your loved ones after you die, consider the including the following things in your estate plan:
- A Will: Your will doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy, you just need to make sure you have one included in your estate plan. Without an adequate will, most of the assets you own will go through your state's probate process, which can be a complicated and confusing experience for your family and anyone else you want to leave assets to. When your assets go through probate, it's unlikely that the results will be similar to what you wished for your beneficiaries.
- Retirement Plan Beneficiaries: If you own an IRA or have an employer plan account, like a 401(k), you likely designated a beneficiary when you first opened it. Since this was probably done decades ago, you should review the beneficiaries your financial companies have on file and update them to reflect your current estate plan goals.
- Listing of All Your Financial Information: To make your death a little easier on your loved ones put together a detailed packet of all your financial information and let them know exactly where to find it.
Lowering Your Taxes
If you want to lower future taxes on your estate, you should consider using a trust. A trust will give you a greater degree of control over your estate. With a trust, you can:
- Appoint a corporate trustee to perform administrative work
- Have more privacy than a will
- Lower the amount of taxes your estate will be subject to
You also need to consider the possibility that, at some point, you might no longer be capable of making decisions for yourself, which is why you need put these directives into place:
- Living Will: If you have specific instructions for your medical care, make sure you document these wishes so that they can be clearly comprehended by your health care providers. Make sure any physician you regularly see has copy of these instruction and that they understand what's in it.
- Health Care Proxy: Even with a living will, you might still find yourself unable to speak in a situation that's not covered by your instructions. A health care proxy, also referred to as a "health care power of attorney," can make critical medical decisions for you in this situation. It is important to make sure you pick a person you trust and who is familiar with and understands your wishes.
- Power of Attorney: To better manage your finances, you can give a person access to your financial accounts by giving them power of attorney. Designating your power of attorney doesn’t give the person the right to make health care decisions for you, but a full power of attorney will allow them to use your assets to cover your medical bills. If you designate limited power of attorney, the person you appoint can see and perform certain actions with your accounts, but they can’t withdraw any funds.
Make an Estate Plan Today
At DeFazio Bal, we are committed to providing our clients with the services and legal representation that they need to successfully navigate their legal issues. We can review your situation and help you create an estate plan that will protect your rights and interests. Let us get started planning your future.
Call (804) 250-3729 to set up a free consultation with our Richmond estate planning lawyers.