If you are like many cell phone users today, your phone is seemingly glued to your hand. In fact, as I write this article, I’m doing so from my phone.
Yes, smartphones are wonderful in many ways. They allow us to keep in touch with family, work and our other interests.
What have you changed in your phone settings to tweak your device to your liking? Have you made the background picture your personal picture frame, added your unique flair to the lighting and ringtones. In other words, you have probably made changes to the default settings that the factory installed.
We all have preferences when it comes to what we like and what our wishes are. However, your estate plan is set to default based on what your State has in place for you, if you have not put your wishes and preferences in writing.
What your State has in mind for your assets and heirs is likely not what you think. Keep in mind that an estate plan is not just for the wealthy or elderly.
Here are the three basic estate planning documents that an individual should have, if they are 18 years of age and mentally competent:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advance Directive for Health Care
Some of you may need other documents such as a trust to manage funds or property for children, grandchildren or other heirs.
Make sure that your beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, bank accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s and other assets are up-to-date. This is also a part of your estate plan.
By the way, put this on your calendar: National Estate Planning Awareness Week is in October, and as designated by Congress, this is an annual event.
Putting an estate plan in place and changing the default settings is your way of customizing and personalizing your legacy.
The phone is ringing, I have to go for now. Until next time…
This article was revised on January 10, 2017.
Aquanetta J. Betts is an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Thus, this article is applicable to those jurisdictions. This information is not intended to provide legal advice and is for informational purposes only.
Connect with her on twitter @Aquanetta Betts