Three Ways to Protect Your Estate Plan
Creating a will is only the first step in designing an estate plan that will carry out your wishes after you pass. Read on to learn about ways that you can protect the plan you’ve created and make sure the assets you’ve worked hard to earn are distributed according to your wishes.
1. Determine your retirement income
Figure out what you’ll need to retire well before you plan to quit working. By considering in advance how much money you’ll need to fund your retirement, you’ll have more time to make lifestyle or savings habit adjustments that will enable you to save that amount comfortably. Examine whether your individual expenses will be covered by various sources of income you may have upon retirement, such as an annuity, Social Security retirement, or rental properties. While doing this calculation, it is also important to use an accurate estimate of how long you expect to live after you retire. On average, a man who lives to 65 will live to 84, and a 65-year-old woman can expect to live to 87. A quarter of these 65+-year-olds will live on past 90. Without this calculation, you might not realize how much money you’ll need to have saved to avoid dipping into the assets you planned to leave behind to your loved ones.
2. Pre-plan and pre-pay your funeral
Yes, it’s a bit morbid to think through your own funeral, but it will feel like a blessing to those who are in mourning after your death. Not only will it lift a huge burden off your loved ones to not have to make decisions such as what sort of service you would have wanted or whether you wish to be buried or cremated, you’ll also have the ability and clarity of mind to shop around for cost-effective options. You’ll also be able to pay in advance expenses which would otherwise come out of your loved ones’ inheritance.
3. Designate a “committee” of family members to make decisions about your finances
It is important to choose loved ones you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able, so as to avoid costly and difficult proceedings before a guardianship court. Designating only one relative to manage a revocable trust or make other important financial decisions on your behalf after you pass can leave other family members feeling excluded from, and even distrustful of, the decisions being made about your finances. Choosing a group of loved ones to make these choices will allow more people to feel included and can help avoid future legal challenges to your estate plan.
For assistance with creating an estate plan that will provide for your family for years to come, contact the dedicated and knowledgeable Poughkeepsie estate planning attorneys at Van DeWater & Van DeWater for a consultation, at 845-452-5900.