Part of Estate Planning is making it as easy as possible for your loved ones to help you. You should consult with your Estate Planning Attorney to be sure that your Estate Plan is appropriate and puts the appropriate loved ones in a position to help you.
The first way to help your estate helpers is understanding the various roles your helpers can play and assigning the appropriate responsibilities to each person according to their capabilities and desires.
In the event you get sick, you want to be sure that the people that you have chosen as your “Healthcare Helpers” have the authority to authorize medical treatment, move you to a different type of hospital, have access to your medical records, and also know where your “Living Will” is.
Make sure that your “Healthcare Helpers” not only have access to your Health Care Authorizations and Living Will, but you will want to be sure that they have the contact information for your Estate Planning Attorney, so that attorney can assist as needed.
Your “Financial Helpers” should have authority as your Trustee, Executor, and/or Financial Power of Attorney, to help in the event you become mentally disabled and after death. They need to have authority to help handle your financial affairs, by paying your bills and assisting your Surviving Spouse as necessary, if you are mentally disabled. They need to be able to move what you own to your loved ones after you are deceased.
Your “Financial Helpers” need to know where your Living Trust, your Will, and your Financial Power of Attorney are located. They need to know the contact information for your Estate Planning Attorney. They need to know where you bank, where your investments are held, and about your life insurance. They will need to know where you keep your vehicle titles, the deed to your house, and copies of your tax returns. They will need passwords for any of your online banking and investments, as well as for your electronic devices, and your computers.
Planning for Costs
You may consider making your own funeral and burial arrangements ahead of time, to relieve the burden on your loved ones after you have passed on. By pre-paying for your funeral and burial expenses, you will lock in at today’s cost. You may also have specific desires about your remains.
Organizing Your Documents
Make sure that a loved one knows where your important documents are and what your assets are. If you properly organize your documents and ensure someone knows where they are stored, you have helped ease the burden upon your loved ones of finding them at a time when they may be upset or didn’t know how you organized your household belongings. If legal documents are in a Safe Deposit Box, or a Safe, be sure that they know where they are and make it as easy as possible for them to have access to them.
Your Estate Planning Attorney ~ Your Helper
Your estate planning attorney can often be your best helper. They are held to ethical and judicial rules and can help your family and loved ones navigate the process, making it easier on them and ensuring your wishes are honored.
Make sure you work with your knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney about ensuring that your Estate Plan is current and up to date to meet the new tax laws, that it authorizes your loved ones to help you both medically and financially, and that it controls your assets as you want them controlled and distributed after you pass on.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.