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fourleafcloverThe famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring. Winter has its own charm being rich with holidays, family gatherings and even occasional snow in Texas. Spring is all about renewal, beautiful flowers and birds chirping. It brings to mind all things green and growing, and especially four leaf clovers.

There are 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every one with four leaves. They are said to bring luck to those who find them. Whether the finders are lucky or not, is debatable, but one thing is certain: Only those who get outdoors and search among the thousands of three leafed clovers will ever find the prized one with four leaves. Maybe that means they are lucky, or maybe their “luck” is created by their desire and determination.

No one wants to live without hope, nor would any of us turn down a bit of luck. Still, it is strategic planning and diligent action that we rely on most for realizing our dreams. This is especially true when creating our retirement plans.

Besides homes, retirement accounts are often the biggest asset owned by people reaching retirement age. It may also represent the largest portion of your estate. The funds are intended to provide for your retirement years, but wisely, these funds are often used as the last resource to tap. Spending them last increases the interest earned and prevents paying unnecessary taxes on them. This may result in having a good portion of the retirement account remaining in your estate at the time of your death. In that case, you are definitely “Lucky.”  You worked hard, planned well, spent wisely and your funds served you well throughout your retirement years.

You probably will want to extend that brand of “luck” to your survivors. Even if your retirement account is protected against bankruptcy and litigation, that will not necessarily be true after it passes on after your death. You can, however; ensure those protections by establishing a Retirement Plan Trust and name it as the beneficiary of your IRA or another qualified plan. Such a Trust will include language to protect the accounts from divorce, creditors and lawsuits. You can include instructions for payment that will encourage the beneficiary to take the funds out over a lifetime, improving the chances of your beneficiary being “Lucky” too!

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