Key Estate Planning Tips for the Elderly
People of all ages can benefit from some thorough estate planning, but it becomes especially important to create and adjust your estate plan as you reach old age. You need to take care of your estate plan before a situation arises in which you are unable to handle your own affairs.
Below are a few of the steps you will want to take as soon as possible:
- Create or modify a will: If you don’t already have a will, you need to write one as soon as possible. They are not difficult to establish and provide you with control over what happens to all your assets. If you already have a will, spend some time making sure it’s updated to reflect your current wishes and life situation. You may need to completely re-write the will from scratch if you have enough changes to make, but it’s worth it to ensure your wishes will be carried out after your death.
- Use powers of attorney and living wills: Durable powers of attorney allow you to grant a trusted friend, loved one or associate the ability to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. Living wills provide some instruction about the kind of healthcare you do and do not want to receive in particular circumstances, especially for end-of-life care.
- Check your beneficiaries: If you have any retirement accounts, savings bonds, payable-on-death bank accounts, life insurance policies or other similar accounts that have beneficiaries, make sure your beneficiaries for those accounts are the person you actually want to inherit that money.
- Consider the use of trusts: In some circumstances, trusts can help you pass down assets with significantly less hassle, as those trust assets bypass the probate process. A revocable living trust, for example, bypasses probate but allows you to revoke or change the contents of that trust at any time until you die as long as you have the mental capacity to do so.
For more tips to help you plan your estate at an advanced age, consult an experienced Florida estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.