When you hear the word “retirement,” what do you picture yourself doing? Traveling the world? Catching up on all the books you were too busy to read? Spending time with your children and grandchildren?
Those are all fine, noble goals, and we want to see you achieve them. But first, there’s work to be done, and we’re not talking about your career. We’re talking about the financial and legal measures you need to take to plan for your future.
Here are five ways an elder law attorney can help you prepare for your later years.
1. Make a will
By having a will in place, you can ensure your assets go to the right people. This might seem like common sense, but most Americans over the age of 45 haven’t drafted a will.
If you die without first creating a will – what’s called “intestate” – Pennsylvania state law dictates who gets your assets. This is typically your direct next of kin, but having a will can make your final wishes clear.
2. Give someone power of attorney
As you get older, there may come a time when you are no longer able to make important financial or medical decisions on your own.
This is another area where an elder law attorney can help, by creating a durable power of attorney to designate a person to handle your financial affairs. They can also draft a living will and a medical power of attorney that lets your agent make medical decisions on your behalf.
3. Get your finances in order
Another part of estate planning involves designating a beneficiary for your bank and retirement accounts. This lets your heirs access this money without having to go through probate.
4. Think about your living arrangements
You may not always be in the home you’re in now. For one thing, many people downsize as their children grow up and move out. There may also come a time when you’re no longer able to live at home.
While you’re still healthy, consider your options for future living arrangements, such as moving to a condominium, apartment or a continuing care retirement community. Think about which one works best for you, and how you will pay for it.
5. Put together an “important papers” collection
Your elder law attorney and/or your Agent may need to access certain documents: your will, any trusts you’ve created, insurance policies, bank account information, retirement plans, debts and funeral arrangements.
While this might sound complicated, you can rest easy knowing the elder law attorneys at Gummer Elder Law are ready to help you figure things out.
Contact us today, and we will assist you in planning for your future.