For most retirees, the basics of family planning are simple enough, says Stewart Richardson, a financial planner who practices out of Owings Mills, Maryland. Start by having the clients fill out powers of attorney. Then make sure they have a valid and up-to-date will.

It gets more involved, he says, when clients have a family member who may not be in a position to take charge of their own affairs; an aging parent, for instance, or a child with special needs. While both situations pose challenges, planning for the needs of a disabled child who may live another 50 years or longer is especially difficult.

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