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What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need for a Happy Retirement?

state planning for retirement
Most people can't wait for retirement, and even more would likely opt for some form of early retirement, if they had the opportunity. Whenever you ultimately decide to cut down your time at work or leave the workforce altogether, you need to ensure that you have a full slate of estate planning documents in place.

Estate planning documents are made to help you and your family, in the event of your untimely demise or incapacitation. But beyond that, estate planning for retirement can make your retirement easier and more comfortable.

The Winston-Salem Journal’s recent article entitled “4 Must-Have Documents for a Peaceful Retirement” looks at these critical documents in constructing an effective estate plan.

  1. Power of Attorney (POA). If you become incapacitated or become unable to make your own financial decisions, a POA will permit a trusted agent to manage your affairs. Have an estate planning attorney review your POA before it’s executed. You can give someone a limited POA that restricts their authority to specific transactions. You can also create a springing POA, which takes effect only at the time of your incapacitation. Estate planning for retirement means putting these measures in place to ease your mind.
  2. Will. About 40% of Americans actually have a will. Creating a valid will prevents you from leaving a mess for your heirs to address after you die. A will appoints an executor who will manage your affairs in a fiduciary manner. The will also details your plan for the distribution of your property. Make certain that your will is also in agreement with other documents you’ve set up, so it doesn’t create any questions.
  3. TOD/POD Designation Forms. A Transfer-on-Death (TOD) or Payable-on-Death (POD) designation lets you to assign your investment accounts to a named beneficiary. The big benefit here is that accounts with a named TOD/POD beneficiary pass directly to that person when you die. Any accounts without a TOD/POD beneficiary will be subject to the terms of your will and will be required to go through the probate process.
  4. Healthcare POA/Advance Directives. These are significant health-related documents. A healthcare POA allows your named agent to communicate your wishes to medical professionals, if you are unable. They also include instructions as to whether you want to have life-saving measures performed, if you have a cardiac or respiratory arrest. These healthcare documents also remove the need for your family to make difficult decisions for you.

There is one common mistake made by an enormous percentage of people, and that is not having a plan in place at all.  Speak to a local Chicagoland estate planning attorney about estate planning for retirement, and how making good planning decisions now can ease your mind and make your golden years more relaxing.

Reference: Winston-Salem Journal (Sep. 20, 2020) “4 Must-Have Documents for a Peaceful Retirement”

 

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