Estate Planning and Retirement Benefits

Estate planning and retirement planning are often a multistep process that you must continuously adapt as your life changes. Be it marriage, the birth of a child, job changes, death–all of these events will lead to changes in your Tennessee estate planning process, as you well know. But how about your retirement benefits?

At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we work with you to ensure that the retirement plans you have created not only fit in but complement your estate planning.

Retirement Accounts

As part of your estate plans, you should be making a list of all retirement accounts, investments, and any additional benefits that you would want to pass on at your death. On that list should include any of the following that are applicable:

  • Employment pension plans
  • IRAs
  • 401(k)s

Along with the type of account or plan it is, you need to provide your managing institution name and contact information, any identification numbers or passwords, how much of a benefit you currently receive, and share the location of where you keep your documents that outline the benefits you receive.

In addition to supplying information about the plans and benefits included, you need to name beneficiaries for those programs–not within your will. Rather, you should have the option through the financial institution or program to name a beneficiary at the time of your passing.

Taxation on Retirement Benefits in Tennessee

Many families think listing their retirement account beneficiaries in their will or living will help to avoid probate. In general, estate planning attorneys and financial planners would advise you against this, as it can alter some of the terms of the benefits. This depends on the type of account, which is why you should seek legal advice.

But taxation on retirement benefits is obviously something to be considered. However, in Tennessee, you do not have to have to pay taxes on retirement income via 401(k), IRA or pensions; and Social Security benefits.

Who will inherit my Social Security benefits?

After you pass, you may wonder who will be entitled to your Social Security benefits. In general, an eligible beneficiary will receive monthly payments until the full retirement amount has been given.

For your spouse to receive the benefit, he or she must be:

  • At least 60 years old or 50 years old and disabled; or
  • Any age if you have children under age 16 or the child is disabled

If you do not have a spouse but do have children, they may be entitled to your benefits if they are:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Attending elementary or secondary school full time
  • 18 years old or older but are severely disabled

Estate and retirement planning can seem complicated and stressful. But the more information you can provide to your loved ones the better. This will not only prepare them to live out your final wishes but will ensure that the proper individuals are entitled to your estate and retirement benefits.

Tennessee Estate Planning Lawyers: Retirement Benefits

At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, our estate attorneys will guide you through the estate planning process with the compassion needed and the expertise to ensure your end-of-life plans match your wishes. With years of experience in estate planning and administration, we know how to best protect your assets and prepare for the unknown.

If you’re ready to create a trust, set up a power of attorney, or write your will, we’re here to help. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC now for more information.

We Can Help

If you need legal assistance regarding estate planning and retirement benefits matters, contact us online or call us at (615) 800-7096 today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

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