The economy may be on an upswing, at least according to several reliable metrics. However, for millions of Americans (including many Californians) retiring or planning to retire soon, the future still looks sadly bleak. Unfortunately, many people spend too much time working and not enough time planning for what will happen afterwards. Two things that matter to your future, retirement and estate planning, wind up relegated to the back burner. Consider the consequences of waiting to plan your retirement or estate, as outlined below, and schedule to speak with an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible against your other commitments.
Estate Planning in Pasadena Isn’t for Just the Wealthy
Many people assume estate planning is for the rich or for people with complex assets and real estate holdings. However, it’s just as crucial as retirement planning. Anyone who owns a home or even a 401(k) and other simple accounts can benefit from the process.
A lack of strategic planning leads to negative consequences, like:
- Higher taxes on your estate, decreasing what’s left for your family and other beneficiaries, such as charities you hold dear.
- An estate with no plan will go to probate, which can be costly and laborious and can further strip value from the estate because of legal fees and other costs.
- Without direction from you regarding critical specifics, courts may fail to fulfill your wishes, and family members could turn against one another, leading to hard feelings and even legal battles over what to do with your assets.
- You lose an opportunity to transmit your values and legacy to the next generation.
Update Your Estate Planning to Make Sure it Reflects Your Current Wishes
Even if you’ve established an estate plan (or the beginning vestiges of one), you still need to review and amend your estate planning to reflect your current circumstances. Here are a few questions that you will want to look at in considering whether you should update your estate planning:
- Are there new people in my life I would like to include as a beneficiary? This can include a new spouse, a new child, grandchild, friend and so on.
- Are there beneficiaries to my will I’d no longer like to include? This can include an ex-spouse, a deceased person, a friend you are no longer in contact with, and so on.
- Is there property I need to add to my will? New purchases, a growth in investment, a recent gift might go here.
- Is there property no longer in my estate? If you sold a house or vehicle in your will, you might want to look at your will and consider a substitute gift to the intended beneficiary.
- Are my advanced health directives updated to reflect my current wishes?
Contact an Attorney to Establish a Workable Plan
To prepare for the future and enjoy the peace of mind your deserve, you need to assess your current needs and goals, review investment instruments (e.g. revocable living trusts) to determine what tools to use and how, and establish a regular review process to keep your plan updated and in harmony with your needs and values. Our lawyers can help with this process; call us to schedule a consultation.