Estate planning in your later years

It’s never too late to create an estate plan

There is a misconception that estate planning is only for the young; often something pursued by new parents as they start their families. However, an estate plan is important even after the children have grown or if you do not have children. The truth is that it is never too late to create an estate plan and it is something everyone should have in place.

We often think of estate planning as creating a will, trusts and designating a medical power of attorney. However, there are many more options in the estate planning tool bag that may be beneficial for you depending on your goals and planning needs. As we get older, there are also different concerns and considerations to figure out when creating an afterlife plan as well. This article will discuss some of the issues that seniors should take into account when creating an estate plan later in life.

Estate planning considerations for the elderly

Risk of incapacity: As we get older, we all face an increased risk of our cognitive skills slipping over time. It is important to discuss options and have a plan in place in case capacity becomes an issue. This can be protected against by setting up trusts and powers of attorney

Feuds among heirs: We have all heard stories about bitter disagreements between adult children regarding their inheritance when a parent dies. It seems logical that this would only happen with large estates, but this often isn't the reality. Disagreements can be about relatively small assets and the root is often not the money but deep seeded resentment or other underlying family tensions. Parents may not have accounted for these issues between their children or have not even been aware of them. Parents can try to head off any potential future disagreements by discussing their estate plans with their children and their reasoning behind their wishes and goals while the plan is being created.

A life-changing event: A major life change can alter an estate plan. Depending on the circumstances, goals may change and the plan documents may need to change as well. This may include evaluations for retirement, beneficiaries or other documents.

Changes to estate plan by survivors: After death, beneficiaries of the estate plan may be able to make changes under certain circumstances. Some examples of changes that may be made to an estate plan include estate tax portability (use of decedent's unused estate-tax exclusion by the surviving spouse, disclaiming inheritance (passing the inheritance to the next beneficiary in line) or selecting an alternative valuation date for the decedent's assets, which may have tax implications.

An attorney can help with your estate planning needs

Wills, trusts and other estate planning tools are available to help you achieve your goals, plan for your survivors and give you peace of mind in your twilight years. If you are a senior and beginning to think about creating your estate plan, that is ok. There are certain considerations to be aware of when setting up your plan later in life. However, it must be stressed that it is never too late to create an estate plan. Contact the Law Offices of Karen Brady, P.C. to get started. We will discuss your goals, answer your questions and help you find the best fit to protect your family's future.