fbpx

Check List for Creating Your Estate Plan

Estate planning messHere’s a handy checklist to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after you're gone.

Any estate plan whether its foundation is a simple will or is trust based should be a well-written document that describes how you’d like your property to be distributed after you pass away.  If you've been procrastinating on completing the task, here's your opportunity to cross it off your list. You can get going with these simple steps.

  • Do-it-yourself? Only if you want a fool for a client! Sure, you can use online software to help you write your will.  However, there are many horror stories of people who wrote their own wills with financially devastating consequences. Consider the late Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger. Wouldn’t you think he, of all people, could write a will? Nope, His will was just 450 words and had a ton of errors. His family spent a fortune in legal fees and more than $450,000 in taxes to collect their assets. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she will know how to help you efficiently and effectively.
  • Beneficiaries. When you pass away, your beneficiaries will receive your assets. Be sure that this list is up-to-date.
  • Trustee or Executor. This individual will make sure the wishes in your will are carried out. Select a person who’s responsible.
  • Guardian. If you have minor children, you need to designate a friend or family member as a guardian.
  • Be specific. Don’t be vague in your trust or will and think everyone will know what you want. If you leave your will open to interpretation, it may end up in court.
  • Be realistic. Even if you want to distribute your assets fairly, it still isn't easy. It’s best to talk to your heirs about your assets. Tell them that if they have their eye on anything other than house and cars, to let you know so you can write that down and make sure they get it when you die. This gives them some input.
  • Attach a letter of intent to the trust or will. It’s okay to attach a personal letter to the trust or will, as a way to say goodbye and make your wishes clear and personal. There is no such thing as the Hollywood-style “reading of the will” so if there is a more personal comment
  • Witnesses. Be sure you have the witnesses required to sign your will. They can't be people who stand to inherit anything in the will. Witnesses also need to be at least 18 years old, and ideally, they'll be people who are likely to be around after you’re gone. That’s because if something’s amiss, and your will is contested in court, the judge may want to call a witness to testify.
  • Keep your will safe. Be sure that someone you trust knows the location of your will, as well as any other important papers and passwords to financial institutions. Keep the original copy somewhere secure.
  • Review and update your will. After drawing up your will, you'll want to update it, especially after any major life event, like a marriage, divorce or a birth.

Reference: US News & World Report (June 19, 2018) “10 Steps to Writing a Will”

 

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

LIKE THIS POST?

We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.