This is part four of a series of posts on why *everyone* needs an estate plan. In this post, I want to reach out to those of you who are nearing retirement.
Approaching retirement often drives hard working individuals to focus on financial planning for enjoying life beyond work. This is definitely an important piece of the puzzle, but there is a bigger piece. What will happen to all of that planning when something happens to you?
When considering the future, you want to be sure that you, and not the courts, determine how your life's work is managed and distributed to your loved ones. Your assets, whether entrusted to you from generations passed or accumulated through years of hard work, should be distributed based on your wishes, and not those of the state.
You are not really ready for retirement unless you address three different areas: your property and financial assets, your children, and medical decisions that may need to be made on your behalf. An estate plan, in conjunction with your retirement plan, will set plans in place to manage the needs of all three.
Having your health care directives in place in the event of an accident as well as an estate plan setting forth options in the event of incapacity is very important. You will want your family to be able to access your assets to care for you in that instance, rather than having to bear the burden of the expense from their own pocket or being forced to petition the courts to be able to handle your financial affairs.