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Retirement income is a part of estate planning

Making good decisions when retiring is important for all California residents. Retirement can bring a large lump sum of money that many residents may be unprepared to manage.

Learning to manage your retirement successfully can be part of estate planning on a broader scale. Important details should be shared with your attorney, tax preparer and financial advisor. Some of the pertinent issues may include the following:

-- Assess your assets. This includes checking the value of any Individual Retirement Accounts, certificates of deposit, brokerage accounts and annuities.

-- Transition your portfolio to retirement phase. Retirees are often unprepared for the tax, estate and financial issues that develop overnight with the sudden wealth that can accompany retirement. There may be a hefty rollover, and you may decide to alter the composition of your portfolio from growth to income. Your financial advisor can suggest an optimal balance of growth and income.

-- Analyze your expenses and income so that you firmly grasp what is coming in and going out every month, quarter and year. Identify all sources of income, including annuities, pensions and settlements. Will it be enough or should you begin to downsize?

-- The decision of when to start taking your Social Security also must be made. Defer taking it as long as possible to receive the full benefit. If you are married, coordinate retirement and Social Security benefits with your spouse so that you derive the greatest benefits when they are needed the most.

Many retirees worry that they will run out of money during their lifetimes. This worry can be alleviated by setting up an estate plan in the beginning or middle of their career. Don't leave your future up to chance.

Source: Huffington Post, "Sudden Wealth From Retirement?" David A. Dedman, Aug. 12, 2014

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