Want to Protect Your Family? Set Up an Estate Plan

Aug 20, 2018 | IRA, Probate, Retirement, Will

Creating your estate plan and keeping it up to date, is not generally a difficult project.

If you want your assets distributed as you wish rather than as the state wishes, it is a good idea to spare your family the challenges and get the estate plan completed and up to date, according to Intermountain Catholic in “Retirees Have Several Financial Issues to Consider.”

If your estate plan is not completed and up to date, family members are often left dealing with the expenses of medical care and a funeral. To be left to deal with these issues while grieving adds another layer of heartbreak. It doesn’t have to be this way, because a good estate plan guides them on your wishes.

Many people put off making a will.  This means that their property won’t be distributed as they would want. If you don’t already have a will, contact an estate planning attorney and get started right away. Without a will your estate will be distributed according to the laws of your state.

Ask your estate planning attorney if a “pour-over trust” is appropriate for your situation.  It puts the property that you own at the time of death into an already-prepared trust, so your trusted heir can succeed you as a trustee and then divide the estate, according to your wishes.

Don’t put your 401(k) or IRA savings accounts into trusts. The IRS will see that as a 100% withdrawal and you’ll be charged the taxes on it for the year the withdrawal was made. That one mistake could, and has, decimated lifetimes of savings.

You’ll want to grant a trusted family member or friend the power of attorney and medical power of attorney, so your affairs can be handled, if you should become unable to do so. If you do not want “heroic measures”—CPR and other medical procedures done to bring someone back to life, if they are unresponsive—then you’ll want a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. That form will need to be with you and you should tell others about it, so they can instruct medical personnel accordingly. Otherwise, EMTs and doctors are required by law to take whatever measures they deem necessary to keep you alive.

If you haven’t already applied for Social Security, you may wish to go to your local Social Security office to discuss what benefits are available to you and how to collect them.

Most seniors qualify for Medicare, but there are many different plans.  It is also likely that you’ll need supplemental plans to cover costs, including prescriptions.

An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and is best for you and your family.

Reference: Intermountain Catholic “Retirees Have Several Financial Issues to Consider”