What is an estate plan? Estate planning involves the wills, trusts, beneficiary designation, powers of attorney, joint tenancy’s, gifts, & special durable power of attorney’s for medical & financial. Meaning: make sure on ALL of your financial accounts that you have listed ANY one who you want to have your money when you’re gone.
How you list your beneficiaries depends on your situation. I have young kids? If I was to pass on tomorrow, they would be too young to take care of any financial obligations, so we have listed our parents as beneficiaries on all of our accounts and then listed the children as contingents.
All of your Savings, checking, money market, savings certificates, mutual funds, investments, etc.. update your accounts as things change, if you have another child or if your primary beneficiary passes on. This is one of those things that is hard at times, but I will be completely honest and tell you from the Financial officer helping you or your beneficiary, it is SOOOOOO important that this is done. I have helped people who thought they were the beneficiary when family has passed on, they come in to close the account and… they can’t because there isn’t a beneficiary, so they have to go through probate. Probate is NOT fun. I know this can be a bit morbid to talk about, but it is important that your family is covered when you pass on.
This topic is a long one, I could go on for pages in detail, so the best thing is to call your financial institution, as to see their financial planner. They have packets that go over all of this in detail. They can help you decide what is best for you & your family.
Medical power of attorney– if you fill this out, give a copy to all of your doctors so they have it on file. If you update it, then give a new copy to your doctor & shred the old one.
Property- Make a list of items that you have & who you would like them given to when you pass on. Make sure it is included in your plan & have it notarized so there is no dispute later.
Financial Decisions– Who will make the decisions for any financial obligation. Ask them, make sure there involved somewhat so they aren’t surprised later.
Child care- This one is hard, who is to take care of your children if you aren’t here. Ask them, make sure who ever you ask is okay with your decision. The movie “Raising Helen” comes to mind. The motherly sister thought she would get the kids, but it was the single parting sister who did. It caused a rift. This one is hard… it takes times to make the right decision.
Remember, a financial planner is a good aid to have on your side for these types of financial things.