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Healthy Communication Provides the Underpinning of Successful Estate Plans

07/12/2016

Certain topics about the future are not always easy to discuss, but doing so with all members of your family, and particularly with your spouse, is necessary. Retirement goals and plans, including where you will live and when you both will retire, are the starting points in the Rocky Mount Telegram’s article, “Retirement and estate planning is a family affair.” There are also a few things that you need to discuss with your spouse that can have a big impact on your retirement plans:

  • When will you each start drawing Social Security?
  • What’s your plan for maximizing your Social Security payments?
  • When will you need to start withdrawing from your respective retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s and when you do, how much should you take out each year?

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you discuss these issues from an objective point of view, which will help you and your spouse to “sing from the same hymnal”—or in other words, get on the same page when it comes to these key financial elements of your retirement.

And don’t forget to consider your adult children. They will benefit from frank conversations about your estate plans, especially if they are going to play active roles in your estate plan. Discuss the various tools used in your estate plan—including the durable power of attorney, estate executor and the status of your will and any trusts that have been put into place. You may have been working on an estate plan with an attorney on and off for the last several decades of your life, but this information may be very new to them. They will need to understand what your wishes are, how your estate planning attorney has helped create a plan and the thinking that went into creating the estate plan.

Depending on your family’s dynamics, it may be helpful to arrange a meeting or meetings with the estate planning attorney so that all of the family members understand the plan that has been created and so there are no surprises when you and your spouse have passed.

Reference: Rocky Mount Telegram (June 24, 2016) “Retirement and estate planning is a family affair”

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