For many people, the beginning of a new year is a magical time. It is a time when they dare to dream about the future, and how to make those dreams come true. For Baby Boomers it is a time to take stock of the present and the future. This often means creating or revising an estate plan.
Baby Boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964. As of December 2019, there were approximately 73 million baby boomers in the United States. By 2030, they will all be 65 or older. This will likely have tremendous implications for the agencies providing programs and services for Older Americans. More importantly, it is likely to have a significant impact on Boomers and their families. Therefore careful estate planning is essential.
One important issue Baby Boomers may consider while creating or revising an estate plan is how to choose an agent under a durable power of attorney. This is a legal document that can protect you in the event of your incapacity. It allows someone chosen by you to make decisions or act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. The person you choose is called an agent.
Do not make this decision lightly. Have a frank, detailed conversation with the person you are thinking about naming as your agent. Talk about what you want to have happen if illness or injury renders you incapable of expressing your wishes. Explain how you would like him or her to handle your finances. Ask this person if he or she is willing to honor your wishes. If this person seems uncomfortable or at all hesitant, consider choosing someone else.
Keep in mind that a durable power of attorney can be amended. This means you can name a different agent for any reason. It is important, however, that you do so while there is no question about your mental acuity.
Another key issue to think about is the creation of a trust agreement instead of a last will and testament. This is largely a matter of personal choice. The creation of a revocable trust, however, or one that can be changed has several benefits.
First, this type of trust can eliminate the need for probate, or the legal process of conveying assets to beneficiaries after someone dies. Secondly, it safeguards privacy because trust documents are not public records. Lastly, it may include provisions as to what will happen if you are mentally incapable of acting on your own behalf.
As a Baby Boomer, making these decisions ensures that you and your family have peace of mind now and in the future. If you do not have an estate plan, we can help you craft one. We can also review your current estate plan and recommend changes if need be. In either case, you are welcome to contact our firm at any time to schedule a meeting with us.