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Navigating One of the Most Important Decisions You’ll Make: What to Know About Estate Planning

Also: Check out the discount for AARP members!

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Your 50s and 60s can feel like a new beginning, a chance to experience life on your own terms. That’s why it can feel disconcerting that this is the time to solidify plans to be sure your legacy is secure as well. While it’s not easy, opening up about the topic with loved ones can also strengthen your relationships. Having this conversation now is a healthy approach for your emotional and financial well-being too.  

If you’re putting off the end-of-life talk, you’re likely not taking time to make an estate plan, either. Working with a professional to create your will or trust and subsequently making your plans known will help those closest to you after you are gone by ensuring your wishes are fulfilled.  

Why it’s important to tackle now  

Whether you’re setting up your plan for the first time or updating your current plan due to life changes, estate planning shouldn’t be put off until “later” or “someday.” Estate planning ensures your loved ones are taken care of, provides assistance for children and grandchildren, and can even support a charity of your choice, among other benefits. Everyone can benefit from estate planning. One study estimates that 60% of Americans may need the benefits of an estate plan while they’re still living.   

Women are also more likely to start the estate planning process than men. Because they live an average six-to-eight years longer than men, more women have to make end-of-life plans for themselves after the death of a male spouse. Women today are also more likely to be single due to divorce or never marrying at all, which allows them to take full ownership of their legacies.   

The more detailed, thought-out, and prepared your plans and final arrangements are, the more helpful they’ll be to your close family and friends when they’re needed. You should also review your existing legal documents every three-to-five years to make any necessary changes to your beneficiaries, financial status, and other updates.   

What to look for   

You don’t have to complete your estate planning alone. As with any financial and legal planning, it’s advised you contact a professional to help select the correct legal document for your situation, answer questions, and guide you through the process. You might decide a trust is better for your needs than a will, or you might prefer the simplicity of a will. If you have dependent children, a nomination of guardianship may also be part of your estate plan.   

An estate attorney or financial advisor can help you get started. Alternatively, online services like Trust & Will can provide step-by-step guidance through the process. Trust & Will uses attorneys to set up the framework for your plan. Then you can customize it in a way that meets your particular needs.   

The final word   

Trust & Will is offering AARP members a new benefit to help with your estate planning. Members will receive 10% off an estate plan, free unlimited updates to online documents for a year, and member support seven days a week. Consider this lower-cost option if you’re ready to begin establishing your will or trust.   

Click here to learn more about how your new AARP member benefit from Trust & Will can help you navigate your estate plan.

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