Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Checklist for Estate Planning

An excerpt from...

Checklist for Estate Planning

By Mark Moore, Support Staff
October-December 2013


Checklist for Estate Planning
The first step in estate planning is to have a will or living trust agreement that meets your current needs. If you’ve already done that, you can put a big check mark on your list. If it’s been a few years since you had those documents prepared, the next step will be to have your attorney bring those documents up to date. Can you check off the following items?
  • My choice for executor (or successor trustee), guardians, and trustees for my minor children, and any alternates, are the best choices under my present circumstances.
  • I’ve designated the distribution of any specific property, accounts, or personal items I wish to go to particular family members or friends.
  • I’ve stated how the balance of my estate is to be distributed and I’ve considered the inclusion of charitable organizations, such as my church and missions organizations.
So far, so good. Now you need to make sure your documents are stored in a safe place and that you’ve notified your family where they can be located. Keep a current list of assets with your important papers, including bank accounts, investments, property deeds, car titles, etc. That will save your family time and aggravation. We’re making progress!

Next, consider having a durable power of attorney. This will allow your spouse, trusted friend, or family member to sign financial and legal papers on your behalf during your lifetime. That will come in handy if you become incapacitated or if you’re away from home and need someone to care for your financial affairs.

Finally, it would be good to have an advance directive for healthcare, stating your desires regarding important healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated. If you don’t wish for life support to be continued when the end is near, you will also want a living will to be included.

If you have questions about planned giving, please contact Mark Moore at stewardship@wgm.org or 765.661.2803.
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