From ensuring a seamless transfer of assets to establishing clear directives about your preferences for medical care, a solid estate plan is essential. Unfortunately, the American Bar Association reports that only 64% of Americans have one.
Periodically revisiting your estate plan is also important, especially as you approach or reach retirement. In addition to updating beneficiaries or exploring alternative investment opportunities, around age 60 is a good time to prepare for future health care or end-of-life decisions.
1. Review your beneficiaries
From the birth or adoption of children or grandchildren to divorce or the death of an existing beneficiary, there may have been significant changes in your family since last revisiting your estate plan.
Make sure to update beneficiary designations, including those on asset accounts, such as company benefit plants, retirement or investment accounts, certificates of deposit or life insurance policies.
2. Consider the benefits of a living trust
As you age and face greater uncertainty over your future health, it may be appropriate to consider investing in a living trust.
In addition to avoiding the cost, delay and public nature of the probate process after your death, with a properly funded trust you may be able to prevent dealing with legal issues of guardianship should you become incapacitated.
3. Revisit your Power of Attorney for Health Care
With a Power of Attorney for Health Care, you entrust an agent to make health care decisions in your stead if you are unable to do so yourself.
While you may have informal plans about which friend, family member or other trusted individual should take on this role, it is important to name your intended agent in writing. It is also important to ensure that your acting representative is still able to perform his or her duties.