Just a moment ago you were in the thick of your busy, busy Peak Earning Years. Now, you can see a new
adventure is rapidly approaching your front windshield. What is it? Retirement.
Chances are good that your children have left the nest. As with your Peak Earning Years, this is a critical time to create (or revisit) your estate plan, and make sure your adult children have their legal ducks-in-a-row, too.
You Must Plan for Incapacity
Did you know the law requires every adult American to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Who would make your basic decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?
Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. The probate court process to accomplish this (referred to as a conservatorship) is lengthy and expensive, discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record, and is a real hassle for your loved ones.
Planning for the Inevitable
We have to face the reality that we will all die at some point. Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on default state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets. It also often involves a court process called probate, a burdensome, public, expensive process to transfer property out of deceased person’s name.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Fortunately, we can help you avoid probate court, plan for incapacity, and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences, and make sure everything flows together in an integrated fashion.
Protecting Assets Left to a Spouse
Let’s consider something no married couple wants to think about… What if one spouse dies and the other remarries?
The risk is greatest when a wife passes first, statistically speaking. In a recent University of California study, researchers found that 60% of widowers are involved in a new relationship within two years after losing their wives, while only 20% of widows have a new relationship. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, men are 10 times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years.
Comprehensive estate planning with an experienced attorney can protect your assets, allowing you can provide for a new spouse to the degree necessary, while ensuring that your assets ultimately pass to the beneficiaries of your choosing.
Protecting Assets for the Next Generation
When it comes to children and grandchildren, great care should be given to protect their inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. Dollars earned just spend differently than dollars inherited. In addition to squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.
If those risks concern you we can help arrange for your assets to be distributed to your children or grandchildren through an inheritance trust to protect them from the potential challenges that come along with inheriting wealth and property.
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