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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Estate Planning for Retirement in Sacramento

April 29, 2013

Estate planning lawyers in Sacramento encourage individuals of all age to get involved in their future planning. The truth is, though, that many people put this important process off until later in life. For some people, an upcoming retirement is the trigger that makes them start to think about the importance of estate planning.

The concerns you will have for estate planning at retirement age can vary somewhat from those you would have had earlier in life. For example, there is a good chance that if you have children, they are grown, and you therefore don’t need to name a guardian for them in your will. On the other hand, you may determine that you want to name one or more of your children as the executor of your estate/will or give him or her various powers of attorney.

As you approach retirement, you’ll want to make sure and look at things like who is the beneficiary on your retirement account(s) and life insurance or annuity policies, social security, etc. It’s not uncommon for you to have a previous spouse or other person listed as your beneficiary, when that person is no longer the appropriate choice for the position.  Who wants their ex to receive their retirement? Not you, and if you have a new spouse, certainly not him or her, either!

At this point in life, you’re going to want to sit down with a Sacramento estate planning attorney to put together a comprehensive plan. The lawyer can help you identify the areas in which you need to focus. Generally speaking, though, here are some of the most important places to start:

  • Who will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated?
  • Do you have a legal will?
  • Who will take care of your finances if you are unable to do so yourself?
  • Would you benefit from setting up specific trusts?
  • How would your spouse or dependents support themselves without you?
  • Do you have any business interests that need to be wrapped up?
  • Who are the beneficiaries of your retirement accounts and life insurance policies?
  • How will you pay for long-term care costs if you need assisted living or a caregiver?
  • Who has a legitimate claim to your estate?

These are really just a few of the questions that a skilled Sacramento estate planning lawyer will ask, but they do create a good starting point for thinking in a variety of directions. Retirees do have some unique concerns when it comes to estate planning, so it makes sense to work with someone who has very specific knowledge in that area.

Don’t forget, too, that if you are getting the ball rolling with estate planning, it’s a good idea to pass the information you receive along to your spouse, children, etc. A huge number of people in Sacramento have not yet started their estate planning, and the costs to their estate and their heirs (not just in terms of dollars, but also emotional stress) can be huge if not avoided with good legal planning. There are lots of reasons we put off estate planning until retirement, even though we know that it’s not something that should have been ignored. By learning about the process and understanding it better, you can help the next generation get started when they’re still much younger in order to protect their own children and families.

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Thanks for holding my hand. So glad you made things easier for me. I really don't know how I would have understood any of this without your knowledge.

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