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Three things Baby Boomers need to know about estate planning

Baby Boomers have a reputation for breaking through old stereotypes, and they're at it again. Not be outdone by previous generations, Baby Boomers are living longer and more actively. Boomers are taking up new hobbies (paddle boarding, anyone?) and traveling to foreign destinations (off to Europe to explore our roots!). They are grabbing retirement with both hands and making the most of every minute.

While living life to the fullest, it is also wise to make sure your financial affairs in order. This can help to better ensure that you continue to live to the fullest, even if there is a road bump in the future. A proper estate plan can help to better ensure that your finances are prepared for medical emergencies and other unexpected expenses.

How do I put together a plan that protects me and my lifestyle?

Putting together the right plan varies for everyone. Individual finances and goals impact the overall plan, but one step that can have a positive impact for all Boomers involves protecting a plan from financial abuse. Unfortunately, there are situations where people may attempt to siphon away our hard earned savings. Taking these three steps can help to better ensure our assets are protected:

  • Have a contingency plan. Generally, married Baby Boomers list each other as agents to make financial and medical decisions on our behalf in the event of incapacity. This is fine, but it is wise to have at least one back-up plan. This is true for two reasons. First, as we age the odds that one or both of us become incapacitated increases. In the event that the named spouse is already incapacitated, it is wise to have another trusted person listed. Second, the divorce rate amongst Boomers continues to grow - yet another trend set by Baby Boomers: grey divorce. In the event that you are divorced from the named agent, it is also wise to have another trusted person listed.
  • Know the role of the power of attorney and choose wisely. It is important to keep in mind that the power of attorney spans a large range. This individual or individuals could be asked to cover all the financial affairs of the plan or simply aid in signing checks in the event that we are unable to write clearly. Keep this in mind when choosing your agent.
  • Consider trusts. Trusts are legal documents that can be used to achieve a variety of purposes. Depending on the language used to create the trust, this legal tool can help shield assets from creditors, provide guidance on exactly what the assets within the trust should be used to purchase and provide the creator with tax savings.

These are just a few of the steps that Baby Boomers can take to help shield their estate from fraud. Additional steps are available, and can be discussed with an estate planning attorney.

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