Planning for retirement is a very important life step. The earlier you do it, the more prepared you will be and you’ll have more peace of mind. When planning, it’s important to consider consulting a lawyer. They can give you expert advice and guide you through planning.
Healthcare and Power of Attorney
As you plan for your retirement, you may want to grant someone the power of attorney. There are many types of power of attorney so you have several options to consider. Usually when you establish power of attorney, you designate someone you trust to be responsible for your decisions. This can be in relation to anything from real estate to finances to your health. One tip to consider is to designate different people for different decisions. For example, one person for your finances and another for your health. The person you designate for your health will be the one who speaks with your healthcare providers and they will be in charge of making any final decisions. Having a lawyer can be helpful for negotiating this process. They can help you understand what the best choices are and they can make sure everything is made official and in accordance with state and federal laws.
Update Your Will
Changes happen frequently, so you may need to make changes to your will. While you can make changes to your will on your own, it’s recommended that you involve an attorney. Changes must meet certain legal requirements. Having a lawyer with you to make changes can ensure that everything meets these requirements and that the new will is legally binding. When you make changes, you write a codicil. This document lists whatever you choose to change or remove from your current will. It is signed by you and two witnesses and will be viewed in tandem with your will. You can write the codicil yourself or have your lawyer write it. Even if you write it yourself, you should have a lawyer involved in the process to consult with. They can help you make sure your codicil is clear so there isn’t any confusion later on. Most lawyers who review business documents usually charge a flat-fee. This means you can be clear on what your consultation will cost up front and not have to worry about any hidden fees.
Trusts and Estate Taxes
After your passing, your estate and all your assets are subject to taxes. These taxes vary by state, so it’s important to be aware of how they function in your state. Of course, when you leave your assets to your beneficiaries, you want to make sure they get as much as possible. There are several ways you can avoid estate taxes so your beneficiaries get their share. One option is to give away your assets while you are still alive. Another option is to put your money into a trust. Once it’s in a trust, it is technically no longer yours and cannot be taxed. You establish a trustee who is in charge of the trust. Money can be taken from the trust while you are still alive or distributed after your passing. Since setting up a trust can be a very complicated process, it’s recommended you consult a lawyer. They can work with you to make sure the trust meets your goals.
Keep Track of Beneficiaries
There is a lot involved with estate planning and it’s possible to miss some things. Working with a lawyer can help to make the process more thorough and efficient. For example, keeping track of beneficiaries can be difficult. On your insurance policies or any other policies, you must designate beneficiaries. Sometimes these may change. Even if your will is updated, these designations may outweigh what is on the will. It’s important that you keep these updated. A lawyer can help you keep track of this. You should also consider having secondary beneficiaries. This is helpful in case your primary beneficiary dies before you do. Your attorney can help advise you on how to designate beneficiaries as well as help you keep track of everything.
Planning for retirement involves a lot of complex legal decisions and it can be difficult to manage on your own. Lawyers are experts in their field and they can help you through the process. As you begin planning for your retirement, look for a quality attorney to assist you.
We have some great elder law and estate planning attorneys in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Give us a call at 817-330-9235 today and we can refer you to one of our attorney partners.
To learn more about planning for your future, check out our Smart Senior Series!