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Help Your Family with These Estate Planning Tasks

Having a will is a great start, but there are other things you can to do to help your family after you have passed.

To make your estate plan complete, consider a few practical steps that will address some common issues faced by grieving families when a parent or a loved one passes, as detailed by CNBC in a recent article, “Five ways to bulletproof your estate plan.”

Consider a pre-paid, pre-planned funeral. This can save your family thousands of dollars. In the stressful time of losing a loved one, it’s nearly impossible to properly grieve and properly coordinate all of the arrangements. Save money by shopping around and using a local funeral home, instead of a chain.

Create a family committee to manage your revocable trust. If you and your attorney create a revocable trust, it’ll cover you while you are still alive. When you establish the trust, appoint a “disability committee” of family members named in the trust to determine when you no longer have the required level of mental capacity. This committee can also help your family to avoid court and dealing with adult guardianship issues.

If you remarried, update your estate plan. An experienced estate planning and trust attorney will spot and alleviate your anxieties, while keeping you in the good graces of your spouse and in-laws.

Don’t underestimate your life expectancy. If you go by the averages, you can anticipate living until your mid-80s. But 25% of 65-year-olds will live beyond 90 and 10% of 65-year-olds will live past age 95. That’s a lot of retirement years to fund. You should plan on being a little more conservative with your life expectancy estimates when estate planning so that you don’t outlive your resources.

Be mindful of your income and how it aligns with your lifestyle. If you are living beyond your means during your working years, bear in mind that doing so when you are retired, presents a whole host of financial problems. Develop a budget that includes retirement account income, Social Security and any other financial assets to figure out how much income you will have, and then figure out your expenses. Don’t leave out the cost of healthcare, which can be a big factor. Just 41% of all American workers and their spouses have crunched these numbers, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. When fiscal reality hits, they may find themselves in a dire situation.

Reference: CNBC (April 7, 2017) “Five ways to bulletproof your estate plan”

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