Retirement-and-estate-planning, preparation for good results
Both retirement-and-estate-planning are interrelated parts of
preparation for your retirement lifestyle. Your retirement plan will not
be complete without some serious consideration of estate planning
The retirement-and-estate-planning process is serious
business, very complicated and subject to changing laws. Be sure to seek
professional services from a qualified attorney and financial
consultant. Using the services of a qualified consultant has the added
benefit of having someone else do the work, since most of us aren’t
qualified and really don’t want to spend retirement time preparing a
Retirement planning provides a road map of our life in retirement including decisions on
where to live and how to fund it. It also causes us to answer questions
on income, healthcare, housing, activities, travel, etc.
planning on the other hand prepares us for the orderly handling,
disposition, and administration of our estate when we can no longer do
it ourselves. I believe that we have an obligation to our surviving
spouse and/or children to provide that preparation. The absence of an
estate plan can have a devastating effect on an estate and remaining
family members. However, every year, the vast majority of Americans who
die do so without having prepared a valid estate plan.
Estate planning could include all or part of the following:
- The will
is a legal document declaring a person’s wishes regarding the disposal
and distribution of his or her estate after death. If there is no will,
the state will decide the disposition of assets based on a formula. A
judge will name an executor. Probate laws and regulations vary from
state to state. Be sure to retain a competent attorney who is familiar
with the laws of your state to draft your will. A well written will is a
fundamental element of retirement-and-estate-planning.
- The Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is set up during your
lifetime and you transfer most if not all of your assets into the trust.
You control and manage the assets that you placed in the trust. The RLT
contains language to distribute assets at death and from that
standpoint is much like a will. An RLT allows you to avoid probate and
it is not subject to public record. It is also much harder to contest
successfully. They are, however, much more expensive to set up than a
will and are difficult to maintain. The professional services of a
qualified attorney are essential to set up and maintain the RLT. This
arrangement is not for everyone. Check it out with legal counsel before
deciding if it is for you.
- Health Care Power of Attorney empowers the person that
you select to make health care decisions for you, should you be unable
to make them on your own. The person you appoint is referred to as an
"Attorney-in-Fact" or "Agent."
- Advance Directives are instructions given by a person
that specifies what actions should be taken for their health in the
event that they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or
incapacity. It also appoints a person to make such decisions on their
behalf. Also known as a living will, the directive is a legal document
that conveys your wishes about end of life decisions ahead of time.
Each individual’s retirement-and-estate-planning will be unique to that
person. At the very minimum, all of us should provide our family with a
will and advance directives. For more information on estate planning go to the NIA web site "getting your affairs in order."
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In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln