Medicare and More
One of the most pertinent questions for those thinking about retirement is whether or not their insurance can continue or when to apply for Medicare or other options. This depends largely on your age, your spouse’s age if you have one, and whether or not either of you are eligible for Medicare. You may also want to consider what insurance options are available should you or your wife continue to work and weigh those options as a family. This scenario may also look different if you or your spouse are a public employer, as this may allow you to continue your healthcare coverage through age 65.
Another essential discussion you should have before retiring is with an experienced estate planning attorney. One of their most important roles is to help you plan for your future and make critical decisions with strategy and minimal tax implications in mind. Is Medicare the best option for you and your family? Are there strategic moves regarding pursuing healthcare options that may make the most sense for you based on your specific needs?
Designate Health Care and Financial Agents
As you near retirement age or plan for it, you may want to consider having a trusted person set up as a healthcare agent. This person will be entrusted to make important decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to do so.
For example, if you were in a car accident or have aggressive dementia and can no longer make your own healthcare decisions, this person can step in and make them for you. You must be clear on what measures you would like or would not want to take to preserve your life and communicate these measures and wishes with your agent. You may also want to alert the medical facility of your choice so they are aware and can document this ahead of time. They can then look to your agent rather than ask family members who may already be emotionally overwhelmed.
A financial agent acts in the same regard but for financial decisions. Though it’s tough to have a crystal ball to plan for all curveballs that may happen in your economic life in the future, an experienced estate planning attorney has several scenarios they can run through with you so you can begin to formulate a strategy together as to how you want situations handled and outline them for your financial agent. You can also give your financial agent nearly free reign regarding your decisions rather than limiting their capabilities. It’s important to let them know of their role and your wishes to alleviate questions in the future.
One of the most critical steps that people don’t always do is to take an inventory of all of their assets. As this list changes throughout different chapters of your life, creating an inventory list and updating it as things change is excellent. As you go into retirement, for example, assets may be moved around or liquidated for this new chapter of your life, so it’s important to keep this list updated and accurate.
An asset inventory is another great talking point with your estate planning attorney, as they can guide you on protecting your assets best moving forward.
Do you see a theme here? Designating people you wish to care for in the future as beneficiaries and trusting agents to care for your future decisions is a large part of estate planning. You will want to ensure that all your hard work throughout the years, your legacy, goes to those you wish to benefit from rather than through the courts or otherwise. It is also best practice to regularly review and update your beneficiaries as necessary. For example, maybe a new grandchild in the family or a divorce has occurred that may shift beneficiaries.
Asset Division or Transfer
How will your assets transfer upon your death? Will you stipulate your wishes in a will or create a revocable trust that holds your assets? Anything you can do to help shorten the probate process benefits your family. Anyone who passes without a complete plan will have to endure probate, and the process can be lengthy and costly, which can mean that some of your assets will be depleted rather than going to those you love and want to provide further for.
By setting up a will or trust with your attorney, you can ensure that your assets are protected, will have the most minor tax implications for you now and your family in the future, and more. By working with an experienced professional on these documents, you can also ensure that they are put together accurately and will be valid and enforceable when your family needs to use them.
Estate Planning is an Extension of your Role in Your Family
As most of us wish to do, we would love to continue to provide for those we love long after we are gone. An effective estate plan allows us to do just that. Don’t let your hard work and life story go to the wrong people. Ensure that you are planning for it now and can tweak it as you enter retirement and beyond.
Contact our office today at (319) 379-2007 to get the process started. We have helped countless clients prepare for all different stages in their life and ensure that they have a plan in place that they are proud of and that their loved ones can comfortably rely on in the future. We look forward to working with you.