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Retirement approaching: Time to update your estate plan

Planning for retirement typically involves budgeting and many years of careful saving throughout your professional career. Before you book that European river cruise or start planning your convertible trip down Route 66 with your spouse, there are a few other considerations beyond the immediate financial concerns of a retired person.

Specifically, anyone going through a transition in life needs to consider whether the changes they face will impact their estate plan and last will. Those approaching retirement will have concerns that younger testators may not consider in their estate plan.

There may also be issues that you addressed earlier in life that are no longer necessary in your estate plan, such as naming a guardian for children who are now parents themselves. Adjusting and updating your estate plan now can help you protect your legacy in your golden years and give you peace of mind.

Remove outdated language and clauses from your last will

As you get closer to retirement, chances are good that your children are out living independently on their own. You can remove any guardianship provisions or special instructions in your last will intended to protect your children when they were minors.

You will also want to review how you allocated various assets in your estate plan. Perhaps you list a beneficiary who is no longer part of your life, whether your relationship ended or that person died. Maybe you didn’t take the time to assign specific assets to particular people, an oversight which you now want to correct. Reviewing your estate plan prior to retirement can help you ensure it is up to date and therefore easier to uphold in probate court.

Plan for the unexpected in your medical and financial future

Too many people put off planning for their golden years, thinking that a properly-funded retirement account will fix any issues they encounter. However, your estate plan should include medical guidelines for your loved ones and even financial planning for medical needs later in life.

If you think you may eventually require Medicaid benefits because of a family history of exceptionally long lives or degenerative medical conditions later in life, you want to start planning for Medicaid sooner rather than later. If you don’t plan for these benefits now, you may not be able to secure them when you need them the most.

Creating a trust and moving your major assets into the trust to fund it can allow you to maintain control over valuable items such as your home without those assets precluding you from qualifying for Medicaid to cover long-term nursing care or other expensive medical needs as you age.

As an additional perk, Medicaid planning early in the estate planning process can also help limit your tax liability if you have a large estate. It can also protect your assets so that you have a legacy to leave behind even if your health declines as you age.

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