Key Legal DocsReady to retire? Before you take the plunge, make sure key legal documents are prepared and signed to serve you in later years. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it includes some of the basics every retired person should prepare to address their health and financial wishes. 

An Updated Will

A will is a legal document expressing your wishes about how the property you own should be distributed after you pass away. Your property includes real estate, money and investments, and personal property such as jewelry, cars, household goods, and any other personal items. The person or people who will manage your estate after you die should also be named.

If you already have a will, it’s a good idea to revisit your will and update it before you retire. To ensure legal accuracy, it’s best to hire a lawyer who can make sure your will conforms with both federal and state laws. While you’re at it, make sure any investment accounts have updated beneficiaries based on your current wishes.

“It’s a good idea to revisit your will and update it before you retire.”

Durable Power of Attorney

Who will pay your car payment, credit card bills, or medical bills if you are injured or incapacitated for any reason? Durable power of attorney rights can be given to a spouse, family member, or close friend. This person can make financial decisions for you in the event you can no longer do it yourself. Forms are available online and may be available through your bank, or you can go to a lawyer.

Make sure the person you select is someone you trust as they can do more than just pay your bills. A durable power of attorney is allowed to buy or sell property in your name, trade or cash out investments, and make other financial decisions on your behalf.

A Health Care Advance Directive authorizes someone to direct your health care needs.
A Health Care Advance Directive authorizes someone to direct your health care needs.

Health Care Advance Directive

Not only do you need someone to help with your finances when you’re incapacitated, you also need someone to direct your health care needs. This document authorizes a loved one to withhold or withdraw medical care or medically supplied nutrition, hire or fire anyone responsible for your care, and admit or discharge you from a medical facility.

A health care advance directive also offers instructions to your loved ones for what to do in the event of an irreversible medical condition, including how much intervention you want. You may also include information on whether you want your organs donated and if all efforts should be made to prolong your life.

Informational Document

While this is not a legal document, it’s a good record to keep for the benefit of anyone handling your estate. List the company, account numbers, and balances of any bank or investments accounts, including a 401(k) and IRA. Don’t forget to include insurance coverage, such as long-term care insurance. Also, note any significant property you own and what to do with it, including valuable collections or items with sentimental value.

A master document with all your must-know information will make it easier on you and your loved ones when they need it. Keep it in a safe and secure place and tell close family where it’s located and how to access it.


At LTC Consumer, we help clients thinking about retirement plan for their future care needs with Long-Term Care insurance (LTCI). Get a free LTCI quote and learn more about your options today.