Estate planning is critical to make sure your assets are passed down as you wish. But another component of estate planning for couples is making sure that the surviving spouse has enough money to live on.
Most married couples want to ensure that all of their resources are available to provide for the surviving spouse, upon the first death. However, without careful retirement planning now, surviving spouses could find themselves in a “cash flow” pinch just when they need income most.
Estate planning is a process with many moving parts. While much focus is given to saving estate taxes, avoiding probate, and transferring wealth between generations, failing to incorporate retirement planning can be hazardous to your wealth.
This estate-planning dilemma was the centerpiece of a Kiplinger’s study recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. The article, titled “Retirement: An estate-planning pitfall,” brought to light the difficulty of lost income to surviving spouses. The first spouse’s passing often disrupts what the couple had always taken for granted financially – predictable cash flow.
The article reviews sources of income impacted by this first death, including social security and pensions. As with all aspects of estate planning, it is crucial to understand the importance of getting competent counsel in advance. In fact, couples should investigate the impact of death on cash flow while both are alive in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
Reference: The Chicago Tribune (July 17, 2012) “Retirement: An estate-planning pitfall”