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Retirement is an essential part of New Jersey estate planning

Many people are interested in making sure that they develop a plan for what happens to their assets after they die. However, estate planning in New Jersey and elsewhere also needs to take retirement funds into consideration.

Recently, financial planners were asked what their clients were most surprised about when it came to retirement. One of the answers mentioned that when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse experiences a loss of income.

In order to make sure that your estate is properly distributed according to your wishes, estate planning is necessary. Couples will need to determine what changes will occur to their income should one of the partners die. If both partners are receiving Social Security, for example, a large portion of it will be gone should one of them die.

Better estate planning will help to ensure that the remaining spouse has enough money to live on.

In one case, a financial planner noted that the client's income fell as much as 35 percent when his spouse died. Not only did the client lose his partner's pension and Social Security income, but his expenses only decreased by about 10 percent. Those who experience this situation may be forced to make a change in their lifestyle in order to accommodate a lower income.

Planning ahead can eliminate the problem. Proper estate planning in New Jersey and elsewhere will help to work through these issues before they become a problem. Properly planning your estate takes into account the retirement phase of life for both partners. Good planning will ensure that your income will remain high enough to support your lifestyle should one partner pass away.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Retirement: An estate-planning pitfall," Rachel Sheedy, July 17, 2012

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