Retirement, Estate Planning: Documents You Should Have

Retirement means different things to different people in terms of both the experience and the age at which retirement begins, and this life change can cause a wide range of emotions – from fear and anxiety to excitement and joy.

During this often emotional time of transition, it is important to make sure your financial matters are in order. Creating a solid financial plan and creating and organizing important legal documents are essential to help ensure your personal, financial, and health wishes are carried out the way you want. The management of your estate begins with working with an expert to help give you greater control, privacy, and security of the legacy you have built.

Listed here are important documents you need to get started:


A will is a legal document that an individual uses to express their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and property as well as the care of any minor children. According to The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP®), a February 2017 survey found that only 4 in 10 American adults have a will. That number does jump significantly for those aged 53 – 71, 58 percent of whom have done estate planning. Although this number is greater than half, it still indicates that over 40 percent of baby boomers have not completed will preparation.

A Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a written authorization that gives a trusted family member or friend the power and authority to act on your behalf regarding business, legal, and financial matters. The rules and requirements differ depending on your state and may be written to be effective immediately or only once if it is deemed you are unable to act for yourself due to a mental or physical disability.

Health Care Directive (living will)

The health care directive is another legal document which specifies your health-care preferences should you become incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself. You can also use this document to express how you would like your end-of-life care handled. If you haven’t made your preferences known, the state where you live will assign a close family member to make those decisions on your behalf. Having an advance directive may help to give you peace of mind.

Information Document

Another important document is one that contains bank account information, passwords, insurance policies, contact information for attorneys, financial planners, and any other significant data regarding your personal estate and final wishes. In the event of an emergency, it would be comforting for loved ones to have this important information at their fingertips.

For help creating these important documents as you transition into retirement, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC, 708-482-7090 or