When most people think of estate planning, they think about money or other assets. But we all have a much more important asset than anything in a bank account, and that’s our independence.
Consult with an estate planning lawyer to protect your independent lifestyle.
Living independently may be something you take for granted now, but as we get older it can become more challenging … and when something is challenging, the usual human response is to procrastinate. We can’t slow down the aging process, but we can prepare for it. One of the things that needs to be done to prepare for aging, is discussed in the article from The Mercury titled “REINVENTING RETIREMENT: Your most important asset—it’s not what you think.”
We hate to think about becoming dependent upon others, but that is often what occurs with aging. This is an asset that needs to be planned for and managed, like any other. Here are some tips for each decade:
Health Care Directives in Your 50s
You need to have a will and you need to have it updated, as the years go by. However, in mid-life you need to make sure to have a living will and power of attorney. Estate planning is a tool used to protect your independence and your wishes as you grow older. These two documents are a critical part of your estate plan. A health crisis or an accident can happen to anyone, but planning can ensure that your wishes are followed. Put your wishes on paper, with an attorney, so that they are enforceable. Just telling someone what you want, is not going to do it.
Read more about keeping your health care directives up-to-date.
Home and Belongings in Your 60s
The kids are out of college and have their own careers and families. Do you still need that big house? Downsizing could bring you tremendous freedom now. Yes, you have to go through all of your belongings which is a lot of work. However, consider how your life would change if you had less stuff, a smaller home and lower bills? This one move could change how your retirement succeeds—or fails.
Stay Connected in your 70s and 80s
Connecting with your community is critical at this time of life. When you are actively engaged with your community, you’ll be busy with activities that you enjoy. You will hopefully be making contributions that draw on your years of experience and knowledge. Hope and having a purpose in life is not just for the young. The healthiest and most independent lives, are lived when people are engaged with other people, with a life that has meaning and purpose.
Planning for your retirement is about much more than your bank account. Speak with an estate planning attorney to make sure that your estate plan protects your independence, conveys your wishes and plans the coming stages of your life to be as rewarding—or maybe more fulfilling—than the past.
Reference: The Mercury (Feb. 10, 2019) “REINVENTING RETIREMENT: Your most important asset—it’s not what you think”