Finally the weather around the country is warming up. The snow and ice in the Northeast was relentless this winter. Hospital emergency rooms, chiropractors offices and pharmacies were bombarded with patients suffering from broken bones, sprains and other injuries caused by falling on ice. What a relief to see the snow, ice and sleet finally move along.
Now that summer is on the horizon, we can all get excited and look forward to basking in the warmth of the sun. With the hot weather comes journeys to far away lands, trips to the beach, summer camps, weekends at the lake and longer days. During the warm months, many people are outdoors and engaged in activities that are synonymous with the glory days of summer.
While you are packing your suitcase for your vacation, don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses, floppy hat, flip flops and the inflatable beach ball. Now that you are ready to have fun in the sun, take a few minutes to think about your estate plan. What needs to be done to make sure your estate plan is in order?
7 Estate Planning Items
Will – What percent of your estate would you like to go to your children, your grandchildren or charity? You can also name a guardian for minor children or an adult child with special needs. Do not forget about your digital assets (photos, videos, email, domains, social media, financial accounts) in your estate plans. How do you want your property distributed upon your death? You can provide many of the answers to that question in your Will.
Durable Power of Attorney – This document gives you the right to name a trusted individual to act on your behalf. Your named agent will have the authority to handle your business and financial matters in the event you become incapacitated.
Health Care Directive with Living Will – This document allows you to name an individual to act on your behalf regarding medical issues. The Living Will gives you the ability to indicate your wishes and desires for medical treatment in the case of a severe, life threatening or terminal illness.
Trust (Revocable, Irrevocable, Life Insurance, Special Needs) – A Trust document can be advantageous for several reasons. Your attorney can help you determine what type of Trust is needed based on your unique circumstances.
Letter of Instruction – This letter is a guide to help your personal representative. Although it is not legally binding, it can be a helpful resource while navigating your estate.
Beneficiary Designations – Make sure you keep your records and information up to date on your bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance polices and other assets. Beneficiary designations control, so make sure they are in sync with your entire estate plan.
Deeds – Check to make sure that your real estate is titled so that upon your death, the property will be transferred according to your wishes. Do not assume you know how the property is titled based on your memory, take a look at the deed.
The 7 Estate Planning Items are applicable for all seasons and your estate plan may require more items. However, there is no need to wait until the official day of summer to get started. Now that you have thought about your estate plan, what actions are you going to take this summer to get it done?
The information in this post is not legal advice and is intended for informational purposes only.