Law & Daily Life - The FindLaw Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

5 Reasons to Hire an Attorney Decades Before You Retire

Getting ready for retirement involves more than just saving money, although saving is a big part of it. Retirement planning requires careful consideration of both the financial and the legal issues that will come up once you decide to stop working.

While seeking out a financial retirement advisor at least a few decades before you plan to retire, you should consider seeking out legal advice early as well. An estate planning, bankruptcy, or tax attorney can help you get ready for the eventual legal or tax issues you may face in retirement. Below, you will find five important reasons to hire an attorney well before you retire.

1. Declare Bankruptcy as Early as Possible Before Retirement

Many Americans live under the type of crushing debt that makes retirement seem impossible. Individuals who have monthly payments that exceed their incomes will never be able to save money for retirement. While declaring bankruptcy may be something a person never wanted to resort to, it makes sense to do so as early as possible before retirement.

Through bankruptcy, a person may be able to wipe the slate clean in their 40s or 50s, thereby giving themselves a better chance at building up some retirement savings than someone who waits until the year or two before they retire.

2. Creating an Estate Plan

Putting off creating a will or estate plan until retirement is common, but not advisable. Creating a will should be done as soon as you have accumulated significant assets. Additionally, if you have significant assets, speaking with an estate planning attorney early on can help to protect your assets.

3. Social Security / Social Security Disability

As the workforce has become increasingly more mobile, less and less employers are offering employer sponsored retirement plans. This means that more retirees will be relying on Social Security for regular monthly income. Social Security is a complex system and knowing when you qualify, when you can start collecting, and when is the most advantageous time to start collecting is even more complex. Additionally, if you were or are unable to work for an extended period of time due to disability, you may qualify for Social Security Disability.

4. Reviewing Employer Retirement Agreements

Individuals who have employer provided retirement plans may want to have their retirement agreements reviewed by an attorney in order to understand the benefits and terms of the agreement. Some agreements can continue beyond death to provide spousal benefits, or may contain specific terms that allow for either a lump sum or yearly or monthly payout of benefits.  

5. Modification of Alimony or Payment Plans

If you are paying alimony, child support, or have any other court ordered payment plans, an attorney may be able to help you modify the payment plans to accommodate your reduced retirement income. If you get help before retiring, you may be able to have the payment schedule modified to coincide with your retirement date.

Related Resources: