Like many people, you may have created an estate plan earlier in adulthood – maybe when you started a family. Unfortunately, it may fail to address your needs as you enter your senior years, even if you regularly update your documents.
Many things about your life can change as you age. You may need to shift your estate planning priorities later in life to ensure that they align with your wishes. Here are three areas to focus on at this time in your life.
The debts you leave behind can wipe out the inheritances you intended for your loved ones. As you age, monitoring your debts and seeking ways to minimize them before you die is crucial. Creating an irrevocable trust may help shield your estate assets from lawsuits and creditors to the advantage of your heirs and other beneficiaries.
You may be healthy and have a sharp mind now, but your physical and mental condition could decline as you continue aging. New Jersey residents have two advance directive options to direct their health care upon incapacitation—a power of attorney and a living will. Either (or both) can help ensure that your relatives and physicians understand and comply with your medical wishes, regardless of your condition.
Many seniors have companion or service animals they want to provide for after they die. The law views pets and animals as property, so you cannot leave them an inheritance in your will. Creating and funding a pet trust can help to ensure that your animal friends continue receiving love and quality care when you are no longer here for them.
Of course, you may have additional concerns unique to your estate and your life. Consider obtaining estate planning guidance for a thorough review of your documents to put those concerns to rest.