Even if we love our jobs, most of us look forward to retirement. But, taking the leap and officially leaving the workforce does not mean there is not still work to be done. Although you’ll now be working for yourself, retirement is a very important time to get your financial affairs in order – as well as preparing for the years ahead and the legacy you want to leave behind.
Here are some key aspects of estate planning to address when you enter retirement:
The Here and Now: Getting Your Financials in Order
Retirement can lead to significant changes in your finances, with the loss of steady outside income being the most obvious. Ideally, you’ll have done this before actually retiring, but you can get a better sense of your overall financial picture by creating a budget and meeting with a financial advisor to review your sources of retirement income and recommend sustainable withdrawal rates. Setting new goals and living within your means early will prepare you for what lies ahead.
The Years Ahead: Future Care
As we age, our mental and physical faculties may change. Retirement is a good time to assess your current needs – as well as plan for a time when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. Include the following when planning for your future care:
- Advanced Healthcare Directive. An advanced healthcare directive, or living will, is a legal document outlining your wishes for end-of-life medical care. Creating this document can help your family avoid difficult, emotional decisions about your care.
- Healthcare Proxy. A healthcare proxy, or durable power of attorney for health care, designates an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are no longer able to. In some states, you can combine a living will and healthcare proxy, so check with your estate planning attorney about the rules for your state.
- Power of Attorney. Similar to a healthcare proxy, a power of attorney lets you designate a person to manage your financial affairs. There are several types of powers of attorney with varying degrees of control, so weigh your options to choose the right power of attorney for your needs.
The Legacy You Leave Behind: Estate Planning
If you’re among the majority of Americans without an estate plan or will, include estate planning as a part of your transition to retirement life. An estate plan does not have to be fancy, and the complexity of the plan will likely vary depending on your financial situation. When getting started, remember most estate plans typically include the following elements:
- Last Will and Testament. The Last Will and Testament is the foundation for your estate plan. It outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death and names an executor to manage the estate settlement process.
- A trust is another common estate planning document allowing you to pass assets within the trust to a beneficiary designated in the trust. Trusts are frequently used in estate planning, particularly for larger estates, as many trusts avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming and costly.
- Beneficiary Designations. If you own an IRA or 401(k), you likely designated beneficiaries on the accounts. Review your beneficiary designations to ensure they still align with your current wishes.
Retirement marks the beginning of an exciting phase of your life, and a comprehensive estate plan allows you to enjoy the years ahead while knowing your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone. Contact a Fifth Third Bank financial advisor today to review your estate planning needs.