An Estate Planning Guide to Help Your Aging Parents
You may or may not have discussed end-of-life plans with your parents, but if you haven’t, it’s important to do so. You need to make sure that when they pass away, your parents’ assets are properly protected and distributed, that the tax burden on you and their other heirs is minimized, and above all, that their final wishes are covered and taken into account. Read an estate planning guide to help your aging parents make the right decisions to protect their assets and you when they pass on.
Estate Planning Guide
When sitting down to engage in estate planning, it’s vital to take it step-by-step. Keep this handy estate planning guide checklist nearby so you can refer to it and avoid missing anything. Also, be sure you work closely with your estate planning attorney to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Step One: List Contacts
Make a comprehensive list of any contacts that will be important to the process. This includes not only beneficiaries of the estate, but any entities (personal or business) who might have a financial claim. This means financial providers, brokers, attorneys, medical professionals, doctors, accountants, lawyers, and investment advisors, among others.
Step Two: List Assets
Now, make a list of all assets, no matter how large or small. Make a list of the locations of their accounts, and note usernames, passwords and PIN numbers as necessary. Track bank accounts, mutual funds, retirement accounts, real estate holdings, life insurance policies, investment portfolios, property deeds and anything that might be worth money at all.
Step Three: The Safe Place
Make sure that the details of the financial and estate planning are kept all together in a suitable and secure location, whether it’s a safety deposit box at the bank, a safe in their house, or somewhere else that they’ll be protected from disaster, theft and prying eyes. You’ll need to be able to access them when necessary, but also keep them secured from unauthorized access or damage.
Step Four: Determine Handling of Affairs
Finally, you’ll want to determine how they want their affairs handled. This essentially involves four documents:
1. The Will: The will appoints someone as an executor to manage the estate, and outlines where and how all assets will be distributed.
2. Powers of Attorney: These documents appoint someone to manage their affairs in case they become incapacitated. A financial power of attorney designates a representative to handle their financial affairs, while a healthcare power of attorney designates a representative to handle healthcare decisions.
3. Physician’s Directive: A physician’s directive outlines their healthcare wishes should they become incapacitated — whether they want to be on life support, how to handle medical complications, etc.
4. Trust Documents: A trust isn’t always required, but it reduces tax burden and allows the estate to continue managing its own assets.
Get an Estate Planning Attorney
These documents seem simple, but it’s important that they are complete and thorough, and having the right legal advice can be important to ensuring everything is in proper order. If you’re starting the process and need help or an estate planning guide of your own, call the attorneys at Tanko law for help today.