As you head into retirement, you’re probably looking forward to enjoying some well-deserved time off and focusing on the things that truly matter to you in life. While there’s a lot of planning that goes into your retirement, we hope that you don’t overlook the importance of estate planning as part of that process, as competent estate planning can also help you focus on what matters most to you.
Why you need to think about estate planning now
Truth be told, the earlier you can engage in estate planning, the better. This is because unexpected things happen in life, and you don’t want your estate and your loved ones to be caught in a position where your intent was unclear. However, it’s never too late to create an estate plan. Here’s why now, as you enter retirement, may be the best time to tackle it:
- Protect your healthcare decisions: As you get older, there’s a greater chance that you’ll need some sort of health care. However, if you end up incapacitated such that you can’t make those important medical decisions on your own, someone else is going to have to make them for you. With a healthcare directive, you can specify who is tasked with those decisions so that you can ensure that they are left with someone you trust.
- Protect your financial decisions: The same holds for managing your finances. If you become incapacitated, you want someone you trust to manage your money and your investments. That’s where a power of attorney can come into play.
- Prepare for long-term care: A lot of people end up needing some sort of long-term care or in-home care at some point in their life. But this care can be enormously expensive. If you incorporate a solid estate plan into your retirement planning, though, you may be able to shield assets from creditors while still reducing your income so that you can qualify for government assistance should the need arise.
- Set expectations: As you retire, your loved ones are probably old enough to understand the extent of your estate and what you hope for it in the future. Therefore, now may be the best time for you to discuss your estate planning goals and your expectations for inheritances. You can even use formal estate planning tools to reinforce those expectations, such as a spendthrift trust that prevents a beneficiary from unwisely spending down trust assets in a quick fashion.
- Achieve peace of mind: You want your retirement to be as stress-free as possible. We find that those who create an appropriately thorough estate plan feel a sense of relief once their documents are finalized. This is because they know that their assets will be in good hands, their loved ones will be protected, and their interests will be supported. So, try not to let the fear of starting the process prevent you from achieving the peace of mind that you deserve.
Consider talking to an experienced estate planning attorney
We know that the thought of estate planning can be daunting. After all, it requires you to contemplate your own mortality and think about your family moving on without you. That’s hard to do. But remember, the process is about doing what is best for your assets and those you love so that you can avoid unwanted consequences, such as familial infighting and high probate costs.
With that in mind, we encourage you to continue to research the estate planning process and what it can do for you. If you need assistance in figuring out how to best navigate the process, take comfort in knowing that law firms like ours are here to help.