(This is not an all-inclusive list, however, it is a good start)
Topics that often put people on edge are Estate and end-of-life planning. Many people may become uncomfortable or anxious on such topics or these topics may seem too overwhelming and complicated to think about. It does not have to be this way.
Here are a few suggestions that could minimize the discomfort of Estate and end-of-life planning:
1) Make or update a complete list of all assets or interest in assets that you or you and your spouse own, including description, how title is held, location and approximate value.
Additionally, if you have a trust, make sure those assets that should be in your trust have been correctly transferred and are held in the same name of your trust.
2) Make or update a complete list of all your usernames and passwords for digital accounts and close down any accounts that are no longer used.
3) Review any assets for which you have made or should make beneficiary designations (bank accounts, insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.) and make sure you have a copy of the most recent form. Review these designations to determine whether you want the trust, or an individual listed and be sure to list alternate beneficiaries so that the asset does not go to your estate and possibly cause a probate.
4) Make sure you have a copy of the most recent deed to your house and any other property you own and if you have a trust, make sure that these properties are in your trust (Please note that real estate properties held in a corporations, LLC and/or
partnerships should not be in your trust, but your interest in that entity should be in that trust.
5) Review all estate plan documents, including your Will, Advance Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney and Trust to determine whether you need to change beneficiaries, agents, successor trustees, custodians for minor children, and nomination of conservator of your estate or person if that should become necessary, because of death, incapacity, age, marriage, change in your relationship with that individual.
Additionally, review how your estate is to be distributed upon your death to ensure it is still appropriate. Consult your attorney regarding previous documents before shredding them.
6) If your attorney has not reviewed your documents in the last few years, you may want to call your Estate Planning Attorney to discuss the need to possibly revise your documents due changes in law. For example, many older trusts that provide for the trust to be split into a survivor’s trust and a bypass trust may no longer be suitable plan for many couples today.
7) Lastly, if you don’t have a Will, Durable Power of Attorney , Advance Health Care Directive and possibly a Trust you may want to call an Estate Planning Attorney to discuss the need for you to have such documents.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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