Enter the Family Fun Travel Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. See official rules


AARP Family Vacation - Photo Contest

Contests and

Enter the AARP Family Vacation Photo Contest

No purchase necessary. Ends 5/31/15. See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation
Happy African American couple

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


A To-Do List for Estate Planning

Get ready for possible changes in 2013

  • Charitable giving. There are any number of ways to donate money from your estate. These should be discussed with your estate planner. The simplest is a "qualified charitable distribution" from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You can earmark up to $100,000 a year (your spouse can do the same) for a charity from your IRA. If you're at least 70 1/2, that amount would be excluded from federal income tax.
  • Updating old documents. If you've had an estate plan in place for years, review it. Make sure that you've designated your beneficiaries and trustees and that you've signed the proper documents to give people you trust access to medical decision making.

    Under current medical privacy law, notes Sid Blum, a certified financial planner with Greatlight Fee Only Advisors in Evanston, Ill., people who want to get information about your medical condition or discuss it with doctors must be cleared by you in advance. There has got to be a document on file with your health care providers that includes their names.
  • Integration. Integrate your estate plan with tax planning across your entire portfolio.

    Will your estate be subject to capital gains or state inheritance taxes? Every state is different and requires another level of review.

    Would you like to leave money that won't be subject to estate tax? Various insurance-based products and trusts may allow you to do that. Even family partnerships can be considered.

    Work with a noncommission, fee-only financial or estate planner when considering insurance products — broker-sold products are frequently oversold and can be bad choices for retirees.

Also of interest: AARP Foundation Gift Planning. >>

John F. Wasik is a personal finance columnist for Reuters and the author of The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome and 12 other books.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can find discounts on the go via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.