Although some people start their estate planning process when they are younger, some people choose to postpone this task until later in life. The issues that one must focus on when developing an estate plan after reaching retirement age are somewhat different than when you establish your estate plan when you are younger.
While young parents may be worried about designating a guardian for their children and providing a trust to support their children if something happens to them, for example, those who have reached retirement age may have only adult children. Retirees might be more concerned about naming one of their adult children as executor (or personal representative) of their will or trustee of a revocable trust, than designating guardians in a will.
If retirement is the trigger that has motivated you to think about estate planning, you also should consider reviewing insurance policy, social security, and retirement account beneficiaries. Many people establish the beneficiaries for these types of assets fairly early in life, so the beneficiary designation is not up-to-date at the time of retirement.
While you are free to leave your IRA or life insurance policy proceeds to an ex-spouse, this approach is not a popular choice, especially after remarriage. Issues that you may want to consider when determining your needs include the following:
- Designating someone to take care of your financial affairs if you are incapacitated
- Preparing a living will so that your wishes about personal dignity and end-of-life decisions are honored
- Entrusting someone to evaluate medical options and consent to medical procedures if you are incapacitated
- Disposition of your business interest if you die
- Care and financial support of your family if you pass away
- Specific types of trust that would benefit you and your family
- Creation of a will to address assets not covered by your trust (pour-over will)
- Identifying the loved ones who you wish to inherit your assets
- Estate planning in anticipation of long-term care needs
Because retirees face some unique estate planning issues, you also may want to seek legal advice about whether you estate planning documents or arrangements need to be updated or revised. We are one of the most experienced and accomplished estate planning law firms in New Jersey with more than 30 years of experience. If you have estate planning or probate questions in NJ or NY, we invite you to call us now at (201) 690-1642 to set up a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey or New York City.