Dark Chocolate and Red Roses Won’t Top This Valentine’s GiftSubmitted by HearthStone | Private Wealth Management on February 11th, 2016
Dark Chocolate and Red Roses Won’t Top This Valentine’s Gift
Little else sings “I love you truly” more than a well-conceived, up-to-date estate plan. It may not sound romantic, but its long-term impact is undeniable.
So get started. Create a lasting legacy of love and devotion this Valentine’s month. If you don’t have, or haven’t updated, an estate plan in the past three years, don’t delay. Here are ten tips that can help.
1. Develop a complete estate plan this year. Think that a will has you covered? Likely not. You have much to gain from creating or updating a thorough estate plan. If you haven’t completed a plan, commit to it this year.
2. Check the date on your existing plan. Things change. If your existing plan is more than three years old, it’s time for a review.
3. Choose a guardian. Have you named someone as guardian of your minor children in case you’re no longer there to care for them? If not, the court will choose for you.
4. Fund your trust. If you have a trust, make sure it will work as intended. Remember: it must be funded. This means that your assets have been appropriately titled in the name of the trust.
5. Plan for incapacity. In the event of an accident, you’re more likely to be disabled than die. Plan accordingly. Set up powers of attorney for healthcare and financial matters. If these documents don’t exist or are outdated, your loved ones may not be able to properly care for you.
6. Plan for an older child’s incapacity. As a parent, you’re used to making decisions about your child’s health and money matters. But if your child is over 18, he or she meets the legal definition of adult. These young adults need to have powers of attorney for healthcare and financial matters.
7. Check your beneficiary designations. If you have IRAs, company retirement plans or life insurance policies, check to ensure that the beneficiary designations are current. Keep a copy. Review beneficiary designations regularly.
8. Evaluate your agents and successors carefully. If you’ve named someone to act on your behalf as an executor, agent or successor, do you recall who? Have you considered whether the named person is willing and capable? How might this impact family relationships? You should consider all of this when you name someone as part of your estate plan.
9. Inventory your personal property. Inventory items such as art and jewelry. Include photos, descriptions, appraisals, and other documentation. Designate who you wish each item go to on a separate list and keep it with your other estate planning documents.
10. Investigate long-term care insurance. The most unpredictable parts of any plan are healthcare costs, including long-term care. Health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid help with some costs, but don’t cover the cost of care for daily living assistance. This can be devastating.
This estate planning list is doable, taken one step at a time. Seek professional help, especially from a qualified estate planning attorney. The investment in professional advice now will pale in comparison to the monetary loss of doing nothing.
In conclusion, make your final “love story” one of the best gifts your loved ones ever receive.