A will is great first step, but estate planning is an entire strategy to protect you and your spouse in retirement, and to leave a legacy for your heirs.
CNBC’s recent article, “Five ways to bulletproof your estate plan,” offers five easy steps to make life easier on your family.
Consider a pre-paid, pre-planned funeral. This can save your family thousands of dollars. In the stressful time of losing a loved one, it’s nearly impossible to properly grieve and properly coordinate all of the arrangements. Save money by shopping around and using a local funeral home, instead of a chain.
Create a family committee to manage your revocable trust. If you and your attorney create a revocable trust, it’ll cover you while you are still alive. When you establish the trust, appoint a "disability committee" of family members named in the trust to determine when you no longer have the required level of mental capacity. This committee can also help your family to avoid court and dealing with adult guardianship issues.
If you remarried, update your estate plan. An experienced estate planning and trust attorney will spot and alleviate your anxieties, while keeping you in the good graces of your spouse and in-laws.
Don't underestimate your life expectancy. If you go by the averages, you can anticipate living until your mid-80s. But 25% of 65-year-olds will live beyond 90 and 10% of 65-year-olds will live past age 95. That’s a lot of retirement years to fund. You should plan on being a little more conservative with your life expectancy estimates when estate planning, so that you don’t outlive your resources.
Match your lifestyle to your income in retirement. About 63% of workers say they’ll need less than $1 million for retirement, according a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Make sure you match up your income from retirement plans, Social Security, rental properties, and annuities with your living expenses. Do this calculation, because just 41% of workers and their spouses have done so.
Reference: CNBC (April 7, 2017) “Five ways to bulletproof your estate plan”
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