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Retirement and estate planning often go hand in hand

According to an American Association of Retired Persons report, an estimated 60% of adults do not have any formal documents in place regarding their final wishes. While the numbers are improved for those nearing retirement, there are still many people who have not engaged in any formal estate planning. Arizona residents who are approaching retirement may find this is a good time to review their estate plans

Many working adults dream of retiring, but this change can also provoke feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. For many, this is an ideal time to make sure they have plans in place in the event an incapacitating illness or injury leaves them incapable of making sound decisions or an accident results in their untimely death. There are several documents that can provide instructions for loved ones to follow to fulfill one's final wishes, beginning with a will. This tool dictates how an estate should be handled including the provision for heirs, especially minor children.

Along with a will, a power of attorney and a health care directive are beneficial. The power of attorney names an individual who can make financial and legal decisions for someone who is unable to do so. Each document can be tailored to Arizona's laws to ensure that they will fulfill the desired purpose. A health care directive is used to ensure that a patient's health care wishes are followed, including specifying what end-of-life measures to be applied if there is a serious crisis. Without these documents, the state will appoint someone to make these vital decisions.

Another useful document is a list of all financial and retirement accounts, life insurance policies and selected beneficiaries. In addition, all passwords for online accounts should be included. Contemplating end-of-life decisions is seldom easy, though detailed estate planning documents go a long way in providing peace of mind. An experienced attorney can provide guidance as to which tools will best meet a client's unique circumstances. 

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