Life changes and when it does, your estate plan needs to change with it. If you don’t already have an
estate planning attorney on speed dial, you should. A regular check-up with your attorney can ensure that your plan is always up-to-date. In addition to a regularly scheduled review, you should also contact your attorney immediately for major life events, such as births, deaths and new acquisitions.
Estate Planning Tips
Keep organized files
One of the good ways to make the pre-need planning process easier for you and your family is to organize and clearly label your files, including your will, assets, taxes, burial wishes, information pertaining to life insurance and bank account details. These items can be stored in a deposit box for safekeeping.
Keep it simple
There are many estate planning software options that will help you to organize your information. These software packages will guide you through initial preparations and legal documents. Planning software allows you to stay organized and prevent you and your loved ones from feeling overwhelmed with all of the details.
Have the tough conversations
The next important step-albeit a difficult one-is to discuss your wishes with your spouse, children, and other loved ones. You’ll also need to choose an executor. Once your decisions are organized and accessible, your loved ones will have a road map for your wishes.
Iron out all details
In addition to the “administrative” tasks surrounding details like insurance and finances, it’s important to outline your burial wishes. Traditional burial planning will entail details about burial plot location and casket choice. Cremation planning may involve choosing a final resting place for ashes and urn selection. In either case, consider details like the funeral home, type of ceremony, whether there will be visitation, obituary information or memorial contributions.
Remember your virtual life
Though an online presence may not be the first thing we think of addressing in pre-need planning, the web is increasingly a public place-and a lot of personal information may be stored in various accounts. Make note ahead of time about how to delete or remove social media and web-based email accounts. Also note details for cell phone, insurance and credit card online bills, online bank accounts and any sites that store personal photos and videos.
Locking your estate plan documents away in a lock box or safe deposit box is only a good idea if someone other than you can get to them. Make sure your family knows where all your documents are kept and that at least two of your family members have access to keys, pin codes, passwords and other necessary information. If your documents are stored in a safe deposit box, add those family members to the list of people with authorized access.