A common concern of many estate planning clients is how their earned Social Security benefits work with their estate plans, writes Elga Goodman of HG.org, explaining that there are three general types of Social Security benefits to consider:
- retirement benefits
- spousal benefits
- survivor benefits
While a deceased person’s retirement benefits do not keep flowing to his or her estate,
if a Social Security recipient dies before receiving a payment that was already due, that payment can be made to a family member or to the legal representative of the estate. AARP explains.
Obviously, we explain to our clients at Geyer Law, knowing the amount of the benefits for which your spouse (or ex-spouse) and children might be entitled to receive through the Social Security system following your death is necessary for making decisions about allocating other resources to those individuals in your estate plan.
What’s more, pennyborn.com explains, “if the deceased person was receiving Social Security benefits, the payments received for the month in which decedent died and any months after the month of death must be returned to the government,” . The decedent’s estate or the representative payee that received them is liable to repay these benefits to Social Security. Any over-payment of Social Security benefits must be repaid.
“Social Security benefits are one of the items that fall through the cracks in many estate plans,” laments Bob Carlson in an article in Forbes, cautioning readers. Part of managing finances is managing Social Security benefits. He reminds readers that the Social Security Administration doesn’t recognize regular POAs, but does allow each person to choose one or more individuals to act as advance designees. This step may be accomplished by calling 800 772 1213 or through the mail using Form SSA-4547.
“Your Social Security benefit is just one part of a well-balanced plan for retirement. In order to cover all of your expenses and needs, look at how your estimated benefit fits into the bigger picture,.” Fidelity.com. tells clients planning for retirement. In very much the same manner, as we emphasize at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, your social security benefits need to be considered in your comprehensive estate plan.
– By Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team