Retirees on a fixed income have different estate planning issues than younger people who are still working. But just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you don’t need an estate plan: retirees still have estate planning issues! There is no magic age when you need or don’t need estate planning advice. But depending on where you are in life, you do have different financial and issues. When you retire, you need to protect your own lifestyle during retirement.
Retirees want to consider the effect of taxes on their estate, how much of their wealth to pass on to their heirs, and when. Retirees also want to make their aging process easier on their own children and grandchildren, and save them from additional stress and expenses.
1. Make or Update Your Will
Without a will, your assets will go through the Illinois intestate probate process, which will be confusing, stressful, time-consuming and expensive. By updating (or making!) your will you can ensure that your assets and your heirs are protected.
2. Update Your Beneficiaries
Any time you have an important life change, you should review and update your beneficiary designations.
3. Sign an Advance Healthcare Directive
An advanced medical directive is a legal document that informs your family and doctors how you want your medical and end-of-life care to be handled if you are unable to participate in your own decision-making.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another.
A Medical Power Of Attorney designates an agent to make health care decisions, lasts indefinitely and the person granting the POA authority typically retains the power to revoke it.
4. Sign A Living Will
A living will is a legal document that describes what is to be done if you are left incapacitated in a terminal condition because of a disease, injury, or simply old age, and can no longer communicate your healthcare wishes. Your living will document your healthcare wishes in the event that you’re not able to express them yourself.
5. Talk To Your Family
One of the frustrations of retirees is having their children and grandchildren try to make decisions for them. Explaining your estate plan is a difficult conversation for many families, and too often families don’t have the talk. Communicate the contents of your estate plan and final wishes to your family. When a loved one dies, family conflict and stress are too often a result, mainly because the deceased did not let their family know their wishes in advance.
It’s important that retirees meet with an experienced estate planning attorney and consult a financial planner to evaluate the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones.
If you are a retiree who wants to protect your loved ones after you are gone, an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise you on the best options for your situation. To talk to a qualified attorney in Chicago or Lombard, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
We serve Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.