ESTATE PLANNING TIPS
The easiest way to organize your estate documents is to have a 3-ring binder. That way you can update some of your documents annually.
- Have a current copy of your will.
- Have a copy of your revocable or Living Trust, if applicable.
- Have a copy of your medical power of attorney.
- Have a copy of your durable power of attorney.
- Have a copy of your Health care directive.
- Have a copy of any gift tax returns filed.
- Have a list of bank and financial accounts, any safe deposit boxes and where key is located, update every year.
- Have a list of major inventory such as real estate, update every year.
- Have a list of major debts, update every year.
- You should also have a list of advisors or their business cards, update every year.
You may want to add a list of passwords for significant items in a safe location, instructions of how you want your funeral arrangements such as cremation or burial in a certain town or you may even want to add a list of persons with contact information to be notified of your death.
Immediately After Death:
First take time to grieve and have the funeral services, nothing needs to be done in the first few days.
- The executor/surviving spouse should schedule a meeting with the advisors in the first few weeks.
- The executor/surviving spouse should examine the estate documents and consider any issues and/or family tensions.
- The trust or estate may need a tax identification number and accounts may need to be re-titled in the new entity’s name and EIN.
- Consider whether a probate needs to be filed or should be filed.
- Request sufficient copies of death certificate (extra copies are often needed).
Six Months After Death:
The executor/surviving spouse will have several duties that their advisors may help with:
- Update the list of assets and liabilities, separate trust assets from non-trust assets.
- Look at beneficiary issues and consider disclaimers.
- Advise beneficiaries who will have income from the estate or trust.
- Examine Retirement account options, distributions may need to be made in the year of death.
- Arrange for appropriate tax returns to be filed.
Please call our office if we can assist you with any of these planning tips.