Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to both yourself and to your loved ones. An estate plan that functions as intended will protect your assets and help them grow over the course of your lifetime as well as ensure that your loved ones are provided for in the event of your death or incapacity. If you have an estate plan in place already, you are among the minority of Americans; however, you are not done yet because reviewing and revising your existing estate plan is just as important as creating the initial plan. A Hauppauge estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia discusses common estate plan updates for seniors.
Routine Estate Plan Reviews
To make sure everything is in place and that no changes are necessary, you should conduct routine reviews of your estate plan at various times over the course of your life. The time frame between routine reviews is not set in stone; however, most estate planning attorneys suggest routine reviews every three to five years.
Updates for Seniors
When you reach your “Golden Years,” a wide range of things will change that could impact your estate plan. Failing to review and revise your estate plan to reflect these changes could completely derail the plan you took such time to create and update during your working years. Although every estate plan is unique, common updates for seniors may include:
- Income and gifts — for most retirees, their income stream changes entirely when they reach retirement. Instead of living off a paycheck each month, you will be depending on Social Security, pensions, IRAs and other investments for your income. Now that you will be depending on some of your investments for your retirement income, you may need to make changes to the gifts you plan to leave your beneficiaries in your estate plan.
- Long-term care – your odds of needing LTC increase significantly when you reach retirement age – and the cost of that care will be high. Now is the time to update your estate plan to ensure that you have a solid Medicaid planning component in your plan so you can afford to pay for long-term care if you need it down the road.
- Incapacity planning — as a senior, the odds have increased that you could become incapacitated because of Alzheimer’s or another age-related dementia condition. As much as we don’t want to dwell on the possibility, the reality is that one in three seniors dies suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. If you do become incapacitated at some point, who do you want to handle your assets and take over paying your bills for you? Who should make medical decisions for you? What about personal decisions, such as where you will live? Now is your chance to make these decisions for yourself instead of a judge making them for you later. You also have the opportunity, if you have yet to do so, to execute an advanced directive that will ensure your wishes are honored regarding end of life medical care. You may also wish to execute a separate advanced directive that appoints someone as your health care “Agent” to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.
- Relocation — if you relocate to another state – or country – it is imperative to determine how the laws in that state or country will impact your existing estate plan. If you have a funeral component in your estate plan, you may need to make changes to that to account for the fact that you have moved as well. Purchasing real estate in another state/country must also be taken into consideration within your estate plan. Owning real estate in more than one state could require more than one probate process while owning real estate in another country may require a totally new estate plan.
Contact a Hauppauge Estate Planning Attorney
Please feel free to download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about updates to your estate plan, contact a Hauppauge estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.