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10 Things You Can Do Now to Get Your Estate in Order

July 2, 2019

One of the greatest gifts you can leave your descendants is an organized estate. The time you spend now to prepare your estate plan will help your loved ones understand your wishes in the event of your death. Below are 10 things you can do now to get your estate in order.

 

 

(1) Make or Update Your Will. A Will allows you to determine what happens to your money and possessions when you die and who becomes the guardian of your minor children. If you do not make a Will, then state laws and courts will make those decisions for you.

 

(2) Establish a Trust. A Trust holds property for the benefit of you and other beneficiaries. Your Trust will be private and allow for efficient transfer of your property. If you own real estate, a Trust is essential to avoid probate.

 

(3) Fund Your Trust. A Trust only controls property that is retitled into the name of the Trust. This is called “funding” the Trust. Transfer your real estate into your Trust. Assign your personal property into your Trust. Make your Trust a beneficiary on your bank and investment accounts.

 

(4) Complete an Advance Health Care Directive. This document can speak for you by outlining the medical procedures you want taken if you become too ill to state your wishes yourself. This document also allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

 

(5) Create a Durable Power of Attorney. This document allows you to nominate someone to handle your financial and legal affairs on your behalf if you become disabled or incapacitated.

 

(6) Insurance. Buy or update life insurance and consider buying long-term care insurance. Insurance can help defray the cost of funeral expenses, living expenses, and health care expenses. Consider purchasing life insurance for income replacement and primary caregiver replacement.

 

(7) Arrange for the Orderly Transfer of Business Assets. Business owners can predetermine what will happen to their business assets through legal agreements and life insurance on business partners. Your business’ Operating Agreement or Bylaws should spell out what happens to your ownership in the business when you die.

 

(8) Create a List of Accounts. List an account number and pertinent information for each investment account, bank account, retirement account, and insurance policy (life, disability, and homeowners) you own.

 

(9) Create a List of Valuable Items. Include the location of valuable documents/property, deeds, personal data, stock certificates, tax records, usernames and passwords, and other important items you wish your family to be aware of and have access to.

 

(10) Write a Letter of Instruction. This letter provides a list of instructions for your descendants to follow. For example, it can spell out people to contact in the event of your death and where your Will and Trust documents can be found. If you pre-plan and/or prepay your funeral, you can describe the funeral arrangements you have made and any prepayments you have made.

 

If you have any questions about Estate Planning or what you need to do to get your estate in order, please call us at 801-447-5577.

 

Jared Banks

Concordia University School of Law

Law Student Extern (Summer 2019)

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Disclaimer: The information contained within this blog is not a substitute for individual legal, tax, accounting, investment, and/or financial advice. This blog does not create an attorney/client relationship between you and Legacy Law or Nick Anderson. You should not rely on any information in this blog in making decisions without first consulting with one or more competent professionals. Legacy Law and Nick Anderson do not assume responsibility for any individual's reliance upon any infomation contained in this blog.

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