In such a youth-oriented society, it’s easy to feel over the hill at age 50 or 60. It really is the prime of life, and that means it’s time to update your affairs so you can enjoy retirement and your grandchildren.
Get the proper legal documents in place. That includes a Last Will and Testament, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will Declaration and maybe a Living Trust.
Without a will specifying who’s in charge and who gets what, the wrong people might inherit your assets. For example, if you wanted to leave all of your assets to two of three of your children because you already gave the third child money, it needs to be specified in your will. Without a will, Ohio law would force your assets to be paid in equal shares to your three children, with no regard to your wishes.
Who’s In Charge?
If you become disabled, you’ll need a Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will Declaration to name someone who will handle your affairs. Without these documents, the court will appoint a guardian to oversee your affairs. That’s a lot of money and paperwork that can be avoided with smart legal planning. Keep copies of these documents handy so your family can find them when needed.
Coordinate your bank accounts, investments, retirement funds, life insurance, real estate and cars — the titling, the beneficiaries and the asset allocation. This may take a team, which might include your attorney, financial planner, tax preparer, banker and life insurance agent. Your family will thank you for making sure everything is organized and easy to find.
Take advantage of senior discounts and bank accounts. Turning 50 makes you eligible for AARP. Sign up and use it for the many senior discounts available — don’t let it make you feel old. Many banks have discounted fees or eliminate them for folks over 50 or 60.
Finally, consider what you want to do with the rest of your life. Retirement means no more imposed schedules. Live life on your terms; visit your children and grandchildren, volunteer, start a business, travel, read and get outdoors. It will do you good.
Laurie G. Steiner is a member of the law firm of Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd. She practices in the areas of Elder Law, Medicaid, VA and Disability Planning, and Estate and Trust Planning and Administration.