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Lombard estate planning attorneysFor many, estate planning is similar to doing your taxes. You know you should do it, but you put it off or procrastinate. Estate planning is especially difficult because it forces you to face your own mortality and have what can be uncomfortable conversations with loved ones about a time when you are not around anymore. Creating a comprehensive estate plan is critical to ensuring that your property and assets are distributed according to your wishes and that the end of your life is how you intend it to be.

Unfortunately, only four in 10 American adults have a will or living trust. The other 60 percent will have significantly less control regarding their property and final wishes than those who plan ahead. Luckily, there is no wrong time to start planning for the future, and there are estate planning steps that you can take at each stage of your life.

In Your 40s and 50s

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Lombard family law attorneySpousal support—also known as alimony or maintenance—is found to be appropriate in many divorce cases, and is usually paid to the spouse with lower income. The situation may change, however, when the paying spouse reaches retirement age. It can prevent confusion and lost time if you and your former spouse do your research before retirement becomes an issue.

A “Substantial Change in Circumstances?”

Depending on your situation, the paying party may seek to have their support responsibility reduced or even terminated upon retirement. However, it is not as easy as simply petitioning the court and expecting your request to be approved. As with other requests of this nature, you must be able to present evidence showing that your current support responsibility is unreasonable or excessive in light of the reality of your retirement and the resulting financial effects.

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Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyerIt seems that, with each generation, the golden age of retirement increases. Decades ago, many people retired at 62. Then that number was pushed to 65, where it hovered for quite some time. However, over the past few years, many people are encouraged to keep working until they are at least 67 years old, or even older. But, does working past 65 help or hurt your retirement objectives or your estate planning goals.

There are benefits to continuing to work past 65. You will be adding more funds to your retirement accounts and allowing the interest to accumulate. The longer you are earning income, the shorter the time will be that you will actually be relying on retirement funds to support you. If you do keep working, however, there are definitely issues you will have to address in order not to be penalized.

Medicare

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gray divorceExpect more gray divorces in the coming years.

For one thing, the divorce rate among younger couples has decreased. More people staying married through their 30s and 40s means that there are more couples who could break up in their 50s and 60s. Additionally, people are living longer and enjoying sustained quality of life. To many people, "60 is the new 40" and "80 is the new 60."

Issues in a Late-in-Life Divorce

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retirement age marriageStatistics show that gray divorce – divorce for people who are 50 years old or older – has doubled since 1990. 60 percent who will decide to give marriage a second try will not have any better luck than they did the first time.

Legal and financial advisers say there are steps that older couples can take to help their chances of having a successful marriage the second time around, including communication and a prenuptial agreement.

Especially of concern for people who are close to or already retired are finances. According to some studies, the majority of couples who are engaged fail to discuss their present and future financial situations with each other before they are married. Communication before marriage is essential. This can be especially critical for older people who have been saving all their lives for retirement, only to find out their new spouse has serious financial obligations they knew nothing about.

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According to Reuters and published in the Chicago Tribune, "if you’re divorced, it’s possible to claim Social Security spousal and survivor benefits from your ex." This strategy, according to Reuters, can up the ante when it comes to your benefits, and have you set for the years of retirement to come. With many divorcees nearing the retirement age (a different Tribune article reports that the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010, meaning that there are a whole new slew of divorcees about to hit retirement this decade), knowing just what your rights are when it comes to Social Security is increasingly important.

According to Reuters, one woman "saw her monthly benefit rise to $2,200 form the $900 she’d anticipated" when she found out about Social Security spousal rules. The rule holds true whether your ex is alive or not—and can often "be the difference between living in poverty and a much more comfortable retirement," according to Reuters.

In 2011, according to the Social Security Administration and reported by Reuters and the Chicago Tribune, just under 7 percent of all persons receiving Social Security benefits were divorced, and "10.4 percent receiving survivor benefits were divorced." Once the divorce is over, especially if it’s some years before benefits would kick in, many people forget or don’t know that they have a claim to any Social Security benefits from their ex-spouse.

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