Traditionally estate planning involves planning for transfer of ownership on death. Wills, trusts, transfer on death deeds, beneficiary designations, joint accounts with rights of survivorship are all tools to transfer ownership of property on death. Just as important, or perhaps more important is planning for the rest of your life.
A person can begin withdrawals from an IRA or 401K as early as age 59 ½ or as late as 72(under the new SECURE ACT). You can take social security as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Some retirement plans allow you to retire after a combined age and years of service requirement is met. Deciding when to start involves multiple considerations, including taxation of benefits and whether you want to continue to work while drawing benefits.
Planning for disability or incapacity in an important part of estate planning. Who will make medical and financial decisions for you? Do you have sufficient assets or insurance to pay for long term care? Or will you need to qualify for Medicaid?
Powers of attorney and Trusts are tools, but in the wrong hands they can be a source of financial abuse.
When you meet with your estate planning attorney, don’t limit the discussion to your will or who gets your assets on death.
Every estate planning consultation should include a discussion of: 1. Income from retirement through death, its sources and taxation; 2. Planning for incapacity, disability and long term care and. 3. The appropriate person or persons to serve as your agent or trustee.