Over the course of the next decade, more and more baby boomers will be leaving the workforce to spend their retirement with their significant others. However, before these boomer couples head to the golf course, beach or airport to start spending their hard-earned money, they may want to set aside some time to review their estate plan.
While this may seem like a strange or even morbid exercise, the fact remains that with older age comes enhanced health risks. Indeed, statistics show that over half of all married women in the U.S. are widowed by the age of 65.
What then should boomer couples look for when reviewing their estate plan?
According to experts, boomers will want to list all significant changes that have occurred in their lives over the last several years — remarriage, grandchildren, deaths, etc. — and make sure their estate planning documents reflect these changes.
For instance, if someone appointed to serve as executor of the estate has passed away, a new executor will have to be named, or if a grandchild has been born, the estate plan may need to be amended to name them as an heir.
Once this is accomplished, experts advise boomer couples to reexamine their documentation as it relates to illness and incapacity. In particular, they advise looking at living wills, durable powers of attorney and health care proxies to ensure they still reflect their exact wishes.
Finally, experts suggest that boomer couples should review their life insurance policies, as well as any pension/retirement plans to ensure that both spouses are on the same page when it comes to beneficiaries, and understand exactly what they are in entitled to in the event of the other’s untimely demise.
After this comprehensive review is completed, it may prove necessary for a boomer couple to speak with an experienced legal professional who can help execute any desired changes to their estate plan. Once this important step is completed, all relevant estate planning documents should be organized in one location for easy access.
Are you a baby boomer heading toward retirement? If so, when was the last time you examined your estate plan?
Source: CBS Boston, “What you need to know when you are somebody’s widow,” Dee Lee, Aug. 6, 2014