The global impact of COVID-19 has caused concern for our economy, safety, and individual well-being. Now, more than ever, it is important that your planning is up-to-date in the case of an emergency.
Ensure that your estate documents are updated and aligned with your wishes. This includes your Will, Revocable Trusts, Healthcare Directives/Proxy, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills. Review your documents and discuss any changes with your estate attorney.
Create a list of all assets to include cash, investment accounts, real estate, and businesses, to name just a few. Also include tangible personal property like jewelry, art, and furniture. You will want to maintain a list of where the assets are held, the titles of the assets, and account numbers. For tangible property, consider creating a letter of understanding that outlines your wishes for whom the assets will pass to.
Acknowledge any debts or liabilities that will be outstanding at your death. List and document all mortgages, student debts, and credit card liabilities.
In order to pass along retirement assets to the desired recipient, be sure to specify designated beneficiaries for all retirement accounts and keep those designations current in the event of a change in circumstance. In addition, all bank and CD accounts should have the Transfer of Death (TOD) designation in place. Those assets should avoid probate and pass seamlessly to the intended beneficiaries if these designations are in proper order.
Contact Information: Create a list of all contacts that will need to be notified upon passing. This includes estate attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, estate executors, insurance brokers, and any trustees who will have responsibility for fulfilling your wishes.
Personal Information: Gather personal information, like birth and marriage certificates, and place them in safekeeping.
Digital Assets: In this digital age, it is important that you maintain a list of all online accounts, usernames, and associated passwords. Keep a running list of all accounts (social media, online bank accounts, etc.) and provide this list to your surviving spouse, estate executor, or a trusted contact.
Ensure that all information (asset inventory, documents, digital assets, etc.) is clear and easily accessible.
Discussions with Family Members: Educate family members of what to anticipate upon your passing, so that they are equipped to manage the situation during an emotional time. A Non-Binding Letter of Instruction can be drafted to provide more guidance to the trustees who will be exercising power upon your passing.
Ethical Will: You may wish to create an Ethical Will that establishes and communicates life lessons, charitable philosophies, and values you wish to pass to future generations.
Future Preparations: Consider making funeral, memorial, and burial preparations ahead of time and discuss your wishes for end-of-life care with your healthcare directive.
Feel free to contact our Wealth Strategies group if you have questions on this estate planning topics or would like help connecting to an estate attorney.
Robert Katz, CFP® – Partner, Director of Wealth Strategies – 617.986.5145
Michael Syer, CFP® – Wealth Strategies Advisor – 617.986.5157
Nicole DellaPasqua – Client Associate – 617.986.5159
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