According to AARP, around half of all American adults don’t have a will. But seniors are much more likely to have a will than younger adults. Among people older than 71, around 80% do have a will. And close to 60% of people age 53 to 71 say they have a will, according to AARP.
Whether you have a will or not, your estate planning tasks are probably not complete. Here are some tips for managing estate planning from your assisted living apartment.
Most people know that they should have a will. A will is what communicates your wishes about how you want your assets distributed to beneficiaries. Depending on state laws, you may have complete freedom in this regard or you may need to adhere to some basics about inheritance and work within those laws.
If you don’t have a will, you can create one and file it with a number of do-it-yourself services, such as Legal Zoom. This can be an option if you’re fairly savvy about legal documents or if you have someone willing to help you, especially if your needs are basic. But if you have a complex estate, you may want to work with a legal professional to help protect your assets and your beneficiaries.
And while you’re at it, some other estate planning documents you might want to consider include:
When you create estate planning documents, you typically have to choose an executor or someone to be the power of attorney, depending on which form you’re working on. Both of these are positions of extreme trust, so make sure you:
Know that the decisions you make about estate planning are not necessarily final. You can create a new will or power of attorney form that reverses your decisions or makes changes. Since life does change — with people coming in and out of it — it’s a good idea to review your estate plans annually to make necessary changes if desired. It’s also a good idea to review them if a major family change occurs, such as a birth, death, marriage or divorce. You may want to add or remove people from your plans in these cases.
Once you have a written estate plan and legal documents, make sure that the people who need to put those plans into action in the future have access to them. You might consider giving your executor a copy of the documents, for example.
It’s also important to consider smaller details that might not be documented within a will. One example is online accounts that may need handling. You can create a list of your online accounts, along with updated login and password information. Place it in a secure location, such as a locked filing cabinet. Make sure someone you trust knows you have important documents in a folder in that filing cabinet and that they should access it in your assisted living apartment if something happens to you.
You don’t have to handle estate planning on your own. If you’re unsure about where to start or want help with more complex estate matters, look for an estate planning attorney with an office near the Grand Villa assisted living community in Grand Junction, Colorado.