As you begin making your plans for retirement, don’t neglect to prepare or update your estate plan. Your plan may be decades-old, or maybe you never even signed any documents for a plan. It’s a good idea to start thinking about a variety of issues at this time. Here are some of them.
It’s important to sign a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care proxy to designate the person who will handle your finances and make your medical decisions if you become incapacitated. The risk of disability startes increasing in the post-retirement years. You need to have this protection so that the family doesn’t have to rush into court to get a temporary guardian appointed to handle these matters for you. It’s also important to make sure your Will matches up to your current situation. There is nothing “simple” about a Will — you need a plan that effectively enables your wishes to be carried out.
Do you care for a dependent or disabled child? What plans do you have to ensure that someone can step into your shoes to oversee their care? Where will your child live? Do you want them to stay in the house? How will the house expenses be paid for? Will there be funds that are specifically earmarked in a trust for the child’s benefit, or will the child be dependent on the good will and fortune of the remaining family members? What if any of them falls on hard times or passes away? What kind of trust is required? In other posts I’ve talked about selecting trustees. [insert]
If you are the legal guardian, is it time to ask the court to appoint one of your other children as co-guardian with you, “just in case” you become infirm?
You may be starting to do estate tax planning and transferring assets to your children. If your child receives Medicaid, SSI or other means-tested benefits, this could be a good time for you to establish and fund a Supplemental Benefits Trust for your child.
Each of these issues takes special attention. Thoughtful planning can help lead you into a good retirement.