Thursday, June 4, 2020

Keeping An Estate Plan Organized During Chaotic Times

Keeping An Estate Plan Organized During Chaotic Times
By Attorney Melinda Gustafson Gervasi
June 4, 2020

Estate planning to me is planning for three things: illness, death and taxes.  Not all estate plans look alike, but all should address these issues.  Your documents might include powers of attorney, beneficiary forms, authorization for burial, a will, and sometimes a trust.  But an estate plan goes beyond paperwork. Estate planning is the act of taking control. 

Control includes saying who will do what, and where assets will go. However, control extends beyond putting your wishes in a legal binding format. It includes controlling your paperwork.  What good is an estate plan if it cannot be found when it is needed?  If a sudden illness or death happened tomorrow, would your loved ones know where to find your documents?

A simple 3-ring binder clearly marked may serve you well.  Include subject dividers, but instead of saying math, science, and history, they would say:

  • Powers of Attorney
  • End-of-Life wishes
  • Beneficiary Forms for your retirement, insurances, and or investments
  • Will and or Trust
  • Deed to your real estate
  • Car Title(s)
  • Phone numbers and emails of key people in your life: family members, primary care doctor; accountant; pet sitter; nanny; etc. 
  • Copy of your most recent holiday card mailing address list
  • Pre-written obituary or bullet points on key points
  • List of recurring bills on autopay
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Thank you for reading this educational piece.  Please do not take it for legal advice, as everyone’s situation is unique.

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