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Considering Social Security benefits in your estate plan

| Apr 27, 2020 | Estate Planning |

If you have an estate plan, you understand how important it is to consider the long-term implications of the choices you make. The purpose of having a plan is to make sure your interests are secure after your passing or in case you are unable to speak for yourself. You may think your plan is complete, but you will benefit from making sure you haven’t left out considerations for your Social Security benefits.

Overlooking Social Security benefits is one of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to their estate plans. Without certain details in place, it is possible that you or your loved ones could face complications regarding your finances. Before you consider your plan complete, make sure you have everything you need for future contingencies.

What plans do you need?

Every estate plan is different, and what you need for complete protection depends on your goals, your finances and your objectives regarding your beneficiaries. However, a power of attorney is especially important as it allows a person to act on your behalf in case of incapacitation.

This is important because it is beneficial to have someone managing your financial affairs, including Social Security benefits, on your behalf. However, the Social Security Administration does not recognize powers of attorney. Instead, part of your estate planning process should include contacting the SSA and designating a representative to receive payments on your behalf.

The designated payee

If you already receive Social Security benefits, you can name a representative payee at any time. If you plan to apply for Social Security in the future, you can name this person when you apply. For each year a designated payee receives benefits from the SSA on your behalf, he or she will be responsible for providing documentation that outlines the spending of those benefits.

A complete plan for the future

Making plans for the future is not easy, and it’s common to overlook things that could be important for you down the road. Consider working with an experienced New Jersey attorney as you complete this process so that you do not overlook certain information that you need for a complete and thorough estate plan. Starting with an assessment of your case, you can seek an understanding of the specific tools you need in your unique estate plan.