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If you're an adult between the ages of 40 and 55, you've likely reached what's known as your peak earning years, which means that while you're earning more than ever before, you're also looking at some hefty financial investments. Depending on your lifestyle, that might mean you're paying tuition for a college-aged dependent, paying for a child's wedding, or even helping an aging parent pay for long-term care or medical expenses.
Even if you're not making huge expenditures right now, it's in your best interest to start estate planning to ensure your assets will be allocated appropriately after you're gone. When you're ready to start the planning process, the estate planning experts at Giro & Associates LLC can help you determine what you need to do and guide you through the process from start to finish.
If you're like the average resident of Hackensack, New Jersey, you're likely earning a little more than $40,000 annually, or looking at a household income of more than $70,000 per year. Of course, if you're in your peak earning years, you might be seeing an income that's even higher. Right now is the perfect time to start protecting your income, as well as your loved ones' inheritance, with a solid estate plan.
The right savings plan can go beyond giving you a place to stash money for the future. They can help you earn more cash in interest, which increases an inheritance for your loved ones. More importantly, a comprehensive and well-documented estate plan will ensure those earnings are protected and allocated according to your wishes, even after you're gone.
It's not uncommon for married couples to think they'll have the legal authority to make decisions for an ailing or deceased spouse once they're no longer able to fundamentally care for themselves. Similarly, many children believe they can make legal and care decisions for a parent who is unable to make their own decisions. Unfortunately, though, without the right legal documentation in place, medical privacy laws, financial laws and IRS regulations can stand in the way of a person's legal right to their spouse or parent's records, leaving the courts to appoint authority as they see fit.
Probate is the process of appointing a legal executor or a person with a vested interest in the situation (like a spouse, child or other family member) who has the power to oversee the distribution of assets and make decisions on behalf of a deceased individual. Probate is a long and extremely arduous process. Unfortunately, even after this lengthy process, a spouse or adult child can be left without the power to make decisions regarding their deceased spouse or parent's estate, and even worse, they can end up losing access to what should have been their inheritance.
Of course, the results of probate depend solely on a New Jersey court's decisions and while most often the spouse does eventually gain access to the estate, there are situations that may lead to undesirable outcomes. Having an estate plan in place, especially during peak earning years, can help prevent this unfortunate scenario.
In addition to preparing an estate plan, it's best to also consider making other preparations for the future during these peak earning years.
If you've got parents or in-laws who are receiving long-term care, either at home or in a residential care facility, you likely know the high cost of care seniors in New Jersey face. While home care in the Hackensack area costs an average of $5,529 per month, according to Genworth's 2021 Cost of Care Survey, more intensive senior care options like nursing care average in excess of $10,000 per month. That's why it's important to have a financial plan for long-term care, which is required by more than 60% of U.S. seniors.
During this financially lucrative time in your life, it's wise to consider a long-term care insurance policy. These policies vary in what they offer but if you shop around, you can find plans that only require you to pay if you actually access long-term care, as well as those that can be converted into life insurance policies if the need for long-term care never arises. Either way, you'll have the assurance that your long-term care needs will be met.
If you're between the ages of 40 and 55, the time for financial planning is now. Trust the legal advice of Giro & Associates LLC. Our estate and asset protection planning attorneys can offer you help with every step of the planning process, including beneficiary designations, life insurance planning, and trust creation or administration. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
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