Estate Planning 101: Don’t Forget these Steps!

Estate Planning 101: Don’t Forget these Steps!

Congratulations! You’ve finished your estate planning. You have a will or trust, you’ve designated a financial power of attorney, and you’ve picked your health care power of attorney. At this point many people think they are finished. That’s a mistake. Watch this video to find out the final steps you need to take to make sure all the effort you’ve poured into estate planning isn’t wasted:

Retitle Assets to Trust

Just because you set up a trust, it doesn’t mean you’re finished. You need to retitle your assets in the name of the trust. This includes any high dollar assets including investment accounts, your home, a vacation home, a boat, or an expensive car. Any questions on how to do this? Ask your estate planning attorney.

Put your Will on Ice

Keep your will someplace protected. This could be in a safe deposit box, a fireproof box in your home, or even your freezer. That’s right! Your freezer is like a giant fireproof box. You can take a copy of you will and put it in a Ziplock bag with a handful of rice. Put this packet in the bottom of your freezer where emergency crews are trained to look for these documents. Also, consider giving a copy of the will to your executor.

Note: You should keep a copy of your will handy so you can re-read it every 5 years – or sooner if circumstances change. Make sure all of the people you’ve named are still in your life and your wishes still apply. If not, get it changed.

Protect your Financial Power of Attorney

Just like with your will, put the original of this document in a fireproof safe place and give a copy to the person you named as your agent.  It’s also a good idea to provide a copy to your Financial Advisor.

Make Copies of your Medical Power of Attorney

Again, put the original in a fireproof, safe place and give a copy to your agent. Any physician you see regularly should also have a copy on file. Finally, put a copy in the glove box of all of your cars. Wondering why? If you go in for any type of procedure, you’ll sign a lot of paperwork at intake. That will include a form with a power of attorney box to check. If you sign the generic version, this paperwork may take the place of your carefully drafted plan because the date is more recent. Instead, run back out to your car and grab your paperwork so your wishes are carried out if anything unexpected happens.

Online Vault

We offer an online system where you can upload these important documents and our team can access them if needed. To find out more about storing your documents with us, click here.

This information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Traci Richmond, CFP® and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Raymond James does not provide tax or legal services. Please discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professionals. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.