Whenever a big life change occurs, one thing you should do is review your estate plan to see if it needs to be updated. Pennsylvania residents who are approaching retirement may need to apply different strategies for estate planning at this stage of their life.
Changes in beneficiaries
The first thing to consider is whether your relationship with any of the people in your estate plan have changed. For example, perhaps you are no longer confident that your choice of executor for your will is the right one. As you are looking over documents, be sure that you do not forget about beneficiary designations since these actually can pass assets outside of your will or trust, and they may be outdated. You should also consider whether your beneficiaries are likely to be responsible with their inheritances. For example, if your adult children are still fairly young, you may want to create a trust that directs that they receive their inheritance at a certain age in the future.
Trusts and charitable giving
You may want to consider a trust to help reduce taxes, and you should also be sure that you understand the rules around taxes for IRAs and other retirement accounts when they pass to your heirs. If there are grandchildren or other children in your family that you would like to help through college, you may want to consider setting up a 529 savings plan. Another consideration is whether you want charitable giving to be a part of your estate planning.
Even if you feel like your estate is fairly straightforward, it is a good idea to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to review and update your plan. This may help you from making errors that could leave elements ambiguous or that could invalidate parts of your plan, or which could lead to costly tax issues for your estate or your heirs. An attorney may also be able to suggest solutions you might not have considered.