For many of us our New Year’s Resolutions include Getting Organized. We have a tendency over time to become reactive, as opposed to being reactively proactive. We often have a tendency to be like a rudderless ship at sea bouncing around as opposed to deciding which actions we want to take to make ourselves better organized, more efficient, and effective in our life.
One of the things we all need to do is to make sure that our Estate Plan is done properly and is up to date.
Here is a basic checklist to consider:
- You want to make sure that you have the right people in the right roles.
- You will want Health Care Agents who will follow your desires, as opposed to what they want for your care and for your “end of life” decisions.
- You want someone strong enough to follow your desires, as opposed to being stuck in whatever their emotional issues are. You want a “patient care advocate” who will gather medical information, make informed decisions, and strongly advocate for your care, or advocate to let you pass on if that is what you want.
- You will want Trustees of your Trust to be people who are both “Trustworthy” and “Capable”.
- They need to be able to be someone who is loyal and ethical enough to follow your strong desires.
- They are going to put your desires ahead of theirs.
- They are going to understand that your assets are to be used for you if you become Mentally Disabled and to go to whomever you have chosen, in whatever form or fashion you have decided when you pass on. (Sometimes a corporate trustee is necessary).
Up-to-date Estate Plan Checklist
You want to make sure that your Estate Plan is current in its Design. You need to remember that three (3) things are always changing with your Estate Plan:
- The people you choose in whatever roles are changing because relationships may be changing.
- What you own may be changing. You may be living in a different residence, or be with a different bank, or be with a different investment house since you last reviewed your Estate Plan. You want to make sure that your Estate Plan controls those assets.
- You want to make sure that your Estate Plan is current with the law. The Tax laws will change on both the State and Federal level. Also other laws may change which may affect your Estate Plan such as how assets are distributed over time.
Don’t pay unnecessary expenses
Many people want their Estate Plan to avoid the expense, delay and publicity of Probate Court. If you use a Living Trust as your primary Estate Planning vehicle, you can avoid the expense, delay and publicity of Probate Court if your assets are titled in the name of your Living Trust. If your assets are not titled in the name of your Living Trust those assets will have to go through the expense, delay and publicity of Probate Court before they can move under the terms of your Living Trust.
There are many Goals that you may have set for yourself in the year 2017. Here’s a recap:
- Include making sure that your appropriate loved ones have the authority to handle your Medical Affairs if you become sick.
- You also want to make sure that your Estate Plan is current with your desires, with the right people in the right roles, that your assets are moving to the right loved ones, and that it is current with the law.
- Make sure that your assets are properly titled. Make sure your Estate Plan is up to date and current. We never know what the future holds, but the better we are prepared the more likely the outcome we desire will be reached.
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™.