5 – Attend To the Mechanics Of Estate Administration
Come prepared to a meeting with an estate planning attorney.
Know what you own, and have an idea as to whom you would
like to give your estate.
Good legal advice can save you and your estate in taxes many
multiples of the cost of planning.
Tax laws change, and a well-designed estate plan may need to
change as a result. Periodically review estate documents
with your legal advisor.
Your bequests are not necessarily limited to provisions in a
will or trust; “will substitutes” such as beneficiary designations
and titles to property must be reviewed.
Document the important stuff
- List of assets
- Location of assets/accounts
- Make accessible important papers
Establish/update your will
- Is a revocable trust a better option for your circumstances?
- Is a specialized irrevocable trust needed, e.g., income?
- Cap, Disability, Special Needs or Legacy?
Evaluate the need for a durable power of attorney
- Access during emergencies
Review existing “will substitutes” that transfer assets and property outside a will or trust
- Beneficiary designations
- Wording associated with title to real property, e.g., joint tenant with right of survivorship, Transfer on Death, Pay on Death, etc.
Choose successors to act in your best interests and consistent with your decisions
- Trustee or Personal Representative
- Individual vs. corporate?
- Trust Protector
- Personal health care representative
- Trusted contact
- Conservator? Guardian?
- “Representative payee” for Social Security purposes
Power of Attorney
- Scope and duration
- Preapproval by custodians
- Ready access during crisis
Implement lifetime gifting, if any