A comprehensive estate plan will cover a number of different bases. However, some people fail to consider key details. With this in mind, we will take a look at some of the estate plan components that are sometimes omitted in an effort to raise awareness.
Letter of Last Instruction
If you were leaving the country for an extended period of time, would you leave instructions for the person that will be handling your affairs? Obviously, the answer is yes, but many people do not consider this dynamic when they are preparing for a permanent absence.
Your executor will need certain information to administer your estate properly. You can share it in a document called a letter of last instruction. In this letter, you can let the executor know if you have made final arrangements in advance. If you haven’t, you can explain the way that you would like to be laid to rest.
The executor will need to know the location of important documents, keys and access codes, online account credentials, etc. You should also provide a list of the people that should be notified about your passing. These would include personal connections along with professionals that will have an interest in the administration of your estate.
At the end of the day, this is a matter of common sense. Simply put yourself in the executor’s shoes and ask yourself what you would need to know to do the job.
Advance Health Care Directives
An estate plan should include documents called advance directives for health care, and one of them is a living will. With this document, you record your preferences regarding the use of life-sustaining measures. You can address artificial hydration and nutrition, resuscitation, and mechanical respiration individually if you choose to do so. The living will can also include your comfort care medication and organ and tissue donation choices.
The other directive that should be included is a health care proxy or durable power of attorney for health care. With this directive, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if it becomes necessary. These would be decisions that are not related to the matters that you addressed in the living will.
Durable Power of Attorney for Property
Alzheimer’s disease strikes about one third of people that are 85 years of age and older. This is not the only cause of cognitive impairment, so you should take this into account. To prepare for possible incapacity, you can name someone to manage your financial affairs in a durable power of attorney.
If you have a living trust, you would be the trustee while you are living. When you are drawing up the trust, you can name a disability trustee to assume the role if it ever becomes necessary.
Let’s say that you are using a living trust as your asset transfer vehicle. You may not convey all of the property that will be part of your estate into the trust for one reason or another.
One of the benefits of a living trust is the avoidance of probate. Assets in the trust can be distributed outside of this time-consuming legal process. The property that is not in the trust would be subject to probate unless you prepare for this possibility in advance.
It can be done through the utilization of a pour-over will. This document will allow the trust to absorb the assets that were in your personal possession at the time of your passing. Ultimately, this will streamline the estate administration process.
Attend a Complimentary Estate Planning Seminar!
You can come away with a great deal of important knowledge that can help you preserve your legacy if you attend one of our seminars. They are held at convenient locations throughout our service areas, and they are offered on a complimentary basis.
Though there is no charge, we ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot. To get all the details, visit this page: Connecticut Estate Planning Seminars.
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