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Estate Documents

By Terry Savage on November 10, 2019 | Financial Planning / Retirement

Terry

We, my wife and I, have a Financial Planner and are happy with the conversion of our 401ks into 2 IRA’a as well as the analysis of the optimal time for each of us to begin collecting Social Security and Pensions. We do not have any children or other close relatives/friends who we
believe would be good to designate as trusted contacts to include on legal documents such as revocable living trusts, wills, legal, financial and medical POAs. We are listed as each others beneficiary but have not executed on the other documents. Do you have any thoughts. Thanks

Terry Says

I’ve been faced with this question several times, and even wrote a column on growing older alone. At least you and your spouse have each other. This is a tough question to answer. Perhaps your attorney would serve as your successor trustee (for your Revocable Living Trust) to your spouse, distributing assets after your death. It won’t be such a tough job, since presumably those assets will go to a charity, absent any relatives or close friends.
But the other important thing to have is a healthcare power of attorney. And most attorneys don’t want to take on that job (if your spouse dies and you are alone) because it is too time-consuming. Your living will should be given to your physician now — since it explains your wishes if you are in an end-of-life situation. But a healthcare power of attorney may involve complicated decisions about tests, pain management, or even where you should be moved for hospice. And that is where close friends come in handy.
Perhaps your church has set up a program where others in your situation can meet to discuss these issues. Or perhaps your minister/pastor would be willing to take on this responsibility. Absent that, you are just left hoping that this kind of circumstance never arises. And I know that’s a very unsettling thought.

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