It makes sense: your life changes. Your goals may have changed. You may have been divorced, married, or your children may have gotten married or divorced. Your financial status may have changed. All of these are reasons why the Times Herald-Record advises readers to review their estate plans, as detailed in the article “5 steps to securing your elder estate plan.”
Here are steps to make this an easier process:
Step One: gather up all your documents, which may take some time. This includes your will, powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills, any trusts and any other documents.
For clarity, here are some definitions. A will is the document that states where you want your assets to go when you die. It is reviewed by the court in a proceeding called probate, but only after your death. Assets in a living trust (or other types of trusts, depending on your situation) do not go through this process. Creating a trust results in a legal entity that owns the assets it contains. The trust assets go to the beneficiaries upon death, as directed by you to the trustee. In many instances, trusts save time, money and avoid litigation over inheritances.
Powers of attorney name the person you appoint to make any legal, business or financial decisions for you, should you become incapacitated. A health-care proxy names the person to make your medical decisions, if you are unable to do so. Living wills are used to express your wishes for end-of-life care.
Step Two: review your documents. Make sure that everything is signed. You would be surprised how many important documents aren’t signed. Read the documents to see who was named as the executor of your will and who is the trustee of your trusts. Are those people still able to undertake these responsibilities? Do you still want them making decisions for you?
Step Three: make a list of all of your assets. Note how they are titled—what names are on the accounts—and what are the values of each? Include retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, insurance policies and annuities and check to see if you named a beneficiary. Do you still want that person to be the recipient of the asset? Make sure that you have also named a contingency beneficiary.
Step Four: what information would your loved ones need, should you become unable to communicate? They’ll need information about your medications, the name and contact information for your primary care physician, your estate planning attorney, your CPA and your financial advisor. You may want to arrange for a “family meeting” with your healthcare team and your legal and financial team (two separate meetings), so everyone in your family is familiar with your professional teams. A list of where your documents can be found and who you want to receive personal items, may also be helpful.
Step Five: don’t forget to tell your trusted family members, where your important information is located and what lists exist. You don’t have to review everything with them, but if they know where things are at the time of your passing, they will have an easier time of settling your estate.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (Dec. 1, 2018) “5 steps to securing your elder estate plan”
這是有理的：你的生活正在改變。你的目標可能已經改變。你可能已經離婚，已婚，或者你的子女可能已經結婚或離婚。您的財務狀況可能已改變。這是為什麼Times Herald-Record建議讀者審查他們的資產計劃，詳見“5 steps to securing your elder estate plan.”
第三步：列出所有資產。注意它們的稱號是什麼 - 賬戶上的名稱 - 以及每個賬戶的價值是多少？包括退休賬戶，如IRA，401（k），保險單和年金，並檢查您是否指定了受益人。你還希望那個人成為繼承您的資產嗎？確保您還指定了替代受益人。
第四步：如果您無法溝通，您的家人需要什麼資料？他們需要有關您藥物的資料，您主診醫生的姓名和聯繫信息，您的資產規劃律師，您的註冊會計師和您的財務顧問。您可能希望與您的醫療團隊以及您的法律和財務團隊安排“家庭會議” （兩次單獨的會議），因而您家中的每個人都熟悉您的專業團隊。列出在哪裡可以找到您的文件以及您希望由誰獲得您的私人物品, 這也可能會有幫助。
參考: Times Herald-Record (Dec. 1, 2018) “5 steps to securing your elder estate plan”