Why Estate Planning should be a part of your Retirement Plan

In a perfect world we would never have to map out our time, schedule our days, or organize our lives. Matter of fact, it’s safe to say that many of us have realized in one shape or form how important it is to put forth a plan for ourselves in order to attain some sort of success. While many of us would not argue this, the truth is we still struggle to set a plan in place for ourselves, particularly in cases of our own demise.

According to a survey conducted last year, by, young adults ages 18-34 that owned a will increased by 63%. This percentage of young adults is compared to the survey of older adults that was conducted in 2017 where more research showed that less than half of Americans did not have a will, and only 42% of adults had estate planning documents. In that same survey, research studies also showed that only 36% of parents with children under the age of 18 had an end-of -life plan in place. The facts are gravely concerning, considering the truth is death is the one common outcome we all will face one day in this life. It almost begs the question, why not prepare for it?

The above-mentioned survey interestingly enough proves that there is more of an invested interest in young persons obtaining a plan for their death versus the amount of interested adults. It could be that young persons are more educated on planning will write-ups, or maybe (simply put) the times have changed, and more mature adults simply need to catch up. No matter the reason, we are not here to speak on will write ups as much as we are here to speak to something called Estate Planning.

It is easy to infuse the two terms together, however they are in fact very different from each other. Simply put, Estate Planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage an individual’s asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death. In an interview with Estate Planning Attorney and Associate Director of Education for American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego, California -Steve Hartnett explained that estate planning is one of the most important documents you could have because it is a part of the legacy you leave behind with your loved ones. Hartnett explains, “Even if you don’t have much money, you need a will, because whether you know it or not, there is a process in place. Your assets will be distributed somehow when you die.” 

When you think about it, planning for anything provides you with peace of mind, but planning your legacy provides you with protection to your assets, interests, and your children’s security for the long run. The truth is, estate planning can be for anyone within any financial margin, and while it would be in your best interest to estate plan right at this very moment, retirement can also be a critical time for your estate planning to be finalized. Many persons may not be proactive in estate planning, but retirement planning is pretty much on everyone’s agenda. The reason for that largely stems from the idea that many businesses and industries require and offer a retirement plan within the structure of their company’s employee benefits. Retirement is painted as an end goal for everyone on the job. However, when you think about retirement why not include the plan for your estate?

Here are a few good reasons as to why you should make estate planning part of your Retirement Plan:

Convenience – The odds are that you’re already retirement ready, or about to be, so why not simply add details of your estate plan to that? Also, the details surrounding your estate plan also coincide with your retirement plan so it allows for an easier transfer of files. For instance, your retirement plan and your estate plan both consist of your income, investments, managing assets etc.

You can Plan within a Designated Time– A retirement plan is easy to plan for because there is an age, time, and date set in place for when you will retire. However, Estate Planning is not necessarily set for a certain time period, instead estate planning is only relevant in the time period of your untimely passing or in cases of your disabilities. So, to plan the details of your estate around your retirement plan gives you a good time frame of finalization. Also, the truth is, your Estate Plan must remain current depending on variant circumstances so working on it up to the point of retirement makes the most logical sense anyway.

Estate Planning protects Your Legacy/Children -Without an estate plan, the probate court will appoint a legal guardian/conservator for your children if in fact you die without a surviving spouse to take care of your children. Designating your assets/financial affairs/children to a specific person makes things so much easier when it comes to your family affairs in the time of your passing. Estate Planning also can allow for you to restrict your children’s access to their inheritance. This could be important if in fact you don’t trust your child is capable of handling their inheritance without guidance first. You can specify another family member to act as trustee to ensure the assets won’t be spent frivolously due to a poor sense of judgement.

Give yourself a Peace of Mind – Setting a time frame of planning out details of your estate for your children and your legacy can in return be one of the most rewarding feelings to experience. You will feel an incredible amount of accomplishment when you complete your estate plan.  

You can Avoid Conservatorship upon your Incapacity – If for any reason you become incapacitated due to any physical accident or mental illness, then no one has the legal authority to pay for your living expenses. Furthermore, if you became incapacitated without a durable power of attorney, then an extremely expensive and time-consuming court process must be undertaken to administer a conservatorship on your behalf.  Most persons deal with conservatorship also after retirement age; herein lies why estate planning can be beneficial to your retirement plan.