If you’ve found our blog, chances are you’re helping a loved one prepare for retirement living or getting ready to make the transition yourself. A lifestyle change of any kind can be a long and complicated process, but retirement living has an extra set of considerations.
Once you’ve retired, planning for the future seems more immediate.
Whether you’re planning to move into a senior living community or enjoy retirement living at home, make sure that your golden years are free of worry about the future by having all the financial and legal documents in place to ensure that your plans are followed and your wishes are respected.
Writing a Will
Working with your attorney to draw up a will is one of the most practical first steps you can take in estate planning. Having a will in place ensures that your property and assets are handled the way you want them to be after you pass away.
Get the Basics Down.
Writing a will is an act of love for your family and friends, a way that you can help ease the pain of the loss they will feel. Your will is your final legacy, so make sure that you have the basics down so that your wishes are carried out.
- Make sure your will is valid by writing it now, before your judgment or mental capacity can be questioned.
- Clearly state that the document is your will.
- Have your will signed by at least two witnesses or have it legally notarized to safeguard against any claims of fakery.
Naming an Executor.
Make sure that all of your instructions are followed by naming a trustworthy executor who will:
- Take inventory of all your property and belongings
- Appraise the value of your assets and ensure that they are distributed as you have stipulated.
- Pay any outstanding taxes and settle any debts that you may still owe.
Considering Drawing up a Living Will.
A living will gives you power over your own healthcare in the event that you experience a devastating and incapacitating illness or injury. It allows you to lay out guidelines for care that your family and healthcare team must follow even if you are not able to speak for yourself.
Add a Power of Attorney.
You might consider having your attorney draw up a Financial Power of Attorney that authorizes one of your children or a trusted friend to handle your financial affairs in the event that you are unable or no longer wish to do so yourself.
While the exact terms of a power of attorney will vary with each individual, there are a few items that every POA should include:
- The name of the individual, or “agent,” you would like to act on your behalf.
- A secondary representative who can take charge of you affairs should your primary agent be unavailable or otherwise unable to act on your behalf.
- A detailed description of the role and expectations of those agents, specifying any limitations or stipulations placed on the authority and powers being given.
- An account of the circumstances that will put the power of attorney into effect as well as any conditions that will negate that power.
Determine if You Need a Durable Power of Attorney.
A Financial Power of Attorney draws its power from your ability to give permission, so there are certain circumstances where a Durable Power of Attorney might be a better option.
- If you would like to ensure that your finances are well-managed no matter what happens.
- If you’re only planning to have the Power of Attorney come into effect when you’re incapacitated.
A Financial POA would lose its power in the event that you have stroke or begin to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia unless you specifically include a clause that stipulates the durability of the power of attorney. A Financial POA is only effective as long as you have the faculties to oversee your affairs.