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5 Things Retirees Need to Know About Wills

By    |   Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:40 PM

Thinking about your will and talking about it with loved ones can be unpleasant, and that is perhaps why so many retirees put off this important planning task. The more you know, the easier the process can be, leaving you with peace of mind in your later years.

1. You don’t need a lawyer – Unless you need estate planning strategies for which an attorney can be helpful, AARP says you can indeed make a will yourself. Online do-it-yourself kits are widely available and can be obtained with little cost.

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2. Without a will, your estate is left to the state – If you need convincing to stop procrastinating and prepare a will, consider that U.S. News and World Report says if you die without one, your state will simply decide for you how your assets will be divided. They say some states will divide your assets among your surviving spouse and children, but not all states do it the same way. Even if you simply want to leave everything to your spouse, you will still need to specify this in your will.

3. Be mindful of beneficiary designations – As U.S. News and World Report points out, beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies override anything specified in your will. Be mindful of these accounts and, if you’ve hired an attorney, discuss with her how these designations fit in with the context of your final wishes.

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4. Don’t forget health directive – If you end up in a state of unconsciousness or coma, make sure you’ve specified your wishes for any extraordinary measures, or lack thereof, that you desire for prolonging your life. Attorney Christopher B. Johnson says you should appoint someone you trust to be in charge of important decisions should you become incapable of making them yourself.

5. A will needs updating – Families can dissipate, situations can change over the years. It is important to systematically revisit and update your will after significant life events, advises AARP. You can also plan to review your will every 2 or 3 years as a matter of routine.

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Thinking about your will and talking about it with loved ones can be unpleasant, and that is perhaps why so many retirees put off this important planning task. The more you know, the easier the process can be, leaving you with peace of mind in your later years.
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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 05:40 PM
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