At The Legacy Foundation, we incorporate thoughtful discussions about not only our clients but our clients’ family members – their parents and their children. Being able to advocate for an entire family is part of a holistic approach which is almost always overlooked in the planning process.

The baby boomers are retiring in droves and the expected ratio between working Americans and retirees has increased significantly. In 1945, there were 12 retirees for every 100 workers. By 2030, it’s expected to be 35 retirees for every 100 workers. This not only puts a strain on programs such as Medicare and Social Security Income, it also adds unexpected burden on the children who may not have had those thoughtful discussions about topics such as long-term care, estate planning, tax planning and it does make a difference! The data through the Census Bureau suggests that if you live to 85 today, you will probably live another 6.5 years! It’s also suggested by social workers that if parents have not discussed their estate and caregiving plans with their children in detail by the time they’re 74, they most likely won’t share pertinent information with their children when it becomes most important.

Below please find reminders and comments that we feel are important considerations for everyone we work with, their children and their parents:

Are primary beneficiaries AND contingent beneficiaries listed on ALL investment accounts (Including your checking)? Per stirpes or per capita? Have you updated them when necessary? We have firsthand knowledge of our clients who thought they listed their beneficiaries on their retirement programs and when we ask them to go to their plan on line, there are no beneficiaries listed. Often when employers change plans, this information is not transferred. From time to time there may older employer plans or insurance policies that need to be updated.

Not everyone needs a Trust. These documents are generally used to put some sort of restrictions on how distributions are made from an individual estate. Maybe it becomes more important in the case of divorce and remarriage, minor and handicapped children or a business. Putting your house in a Trust does not necessarily protect it from creditors unless it’s an Irrevocable Trust and then you may forgo your Capital Gains exclusion in the event you wish to sell your home. Putting your retirement accounts into a Trust can also be problematic.

What is gifting and how does this affect my estate planning?

Do you have a copy of a Will or the original document? While most probate courts will verify a copy of a signature, it’s one more step of administrative bureaucracy that you can avoid if you make sure you have at least 3 originals or a certified copy.

The most overlooked planning document of great importance that we see with families, is the Power of Attorney. This document is very important in order to advocate for a friend or loved one and especially as we note the increasing numbers of the aging population that may have with cognitive issues. Advocacy becomes essential for the elderly and you can’t perform those duties without a POA unless you go through the court system to prove you’re fit for the role of a guardian. This could take a very long time. We have assisted our clients on numerous occasions but, unfortunately, we also meet with family members that are too late in that phase of their parents’ lives. Not only does it allow you to oversee health care choices, but also account information for security reasons.

Unfortunately, the mail that shows up in the elderly’s mailbox along with the phone solicitation is very different from the mail you might receive. Because of data mining, there is a clear separation of target groups. It’s important to be aware of this. Reverse mortgages, Social Security propaganda and health care plans that are inadequate are some of the few things we have seen.

Do you have the right health care coverage? For many individuals who retirement before Medicare coverage begins, we have seen policies purchase that in no way are adequate and have very limited coverage which would impact the financial soundness of their retirement planning.

This article is oversimplified in its mention of how important it is to understand how these topics can impact estate and retirement planning.

At the Legacy Foundation, we have been coaching clients with their family planning for over 30 years along with providing dynamic tools to streamline their retirement and estate planning and secure document storage.

Please call our office today to schedule an informational meeting. We are celebrating 30 years of helping our clients navigate their financial, tax and estate planning!