While most people look forward to retirement, not everyone has their estate plans in proper order. Even if you have created a will and related documents in the past, it is essential that you have them updated as you enter the retirement years.
The most basic document in your estate plan is your will. Though some people think this unnecessary, lack of a will can create undue problems for your loved ones. Without one, your heirs will have to undergo the costly probate court processes.
If you have any retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), review the beneficiaries. You might be surprised to discover that you never changed it after a life-altering event, such as a divorce. Make certain that the appropriate powers that be have the updated information on file.
Trusts are an excellent estate planning tool that can keep some or all of your assets out of probate court. There are several different types available, and in most cases you will have access to the assets as long as you are of sound mind and body.
Revocable and irrevocable trusts are also ways to reduce your tax obligation. Of course, you need a legal professional to help ensure that you have set the trust up according to the law. Your representative will also guide you in making the choices that best suit your current financial situation.
Though most people don’t want to think about the possibility of becoming incapacitated, you need to. Ignoring it will only put your estate planning efforts in vain. A living trust is one method you can use to express your wishes regarding what types of life-saving interventions to use in case of incapacitation. For instance, many people have clear instruction regarding resuscitation and life support. For this to be effective, you need to distribute it to at least one trusted family member and your primary care physician. Some hospitals also allow you to include a copy in your patient records.
Since these documents don’t account for every possible scenario, you should also have a health care proxy. A designated party will speak your medical wishes should you be unable to voice your wants and needs.
In addition to this health care power of attorney, you need to designate a financial power of attorney. This person can handle your financial accounts while you are incapacitated. For instance, during your recovery time after a complicated medical procedure. A limited power of attorney provides them restricted abilities related to your finances.
While not an official document, you should make a complete list of all of your assets and debts. This should be put together in a professional manner that makes it easy for your loved ones to navigate through the legal system.
Your retirement years should give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy life. By taking care of these important estate planning needs, you can scratch that worry from your list. Then, you can focus on packing for a trip to your favorite tropical island, or whatever else excites you!
Schedule Your Consultation with Our Experienced California Estate Planning Attorney
Celaya Law is an estate planning law firm in Napa, California. Attorney Anthony Celaya helps families in Napa, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the surrounding areas with setting up wills and living trusts, special needs planning, asset protection, probate administration, business law, and retirement planning.
Schedule a planning session with our experienced Napa attorney today to learn how we can help you and your family: (707) 492-3112.