Make a last will and testament don't leave family in chaos
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When a person passes away the family is left to sort out property locate accounts and passwords.
Gather your information by following this outline:
Take Inventory of Assets
- Money in savings and checking accounts—list banks and account numbers
- Stocks and bonds, mutual funds, money market funds, and CDs—list firms and account numbers
- Real estate (including vacation property), automobiles, jewelry, artwork and other valuables
- Life insurance policies on your life—list face amounts, cash values, beneficiaries, name of insurance company and agent
- IRAs and other retirement plan assets—list custodians, account numbers and beneficiaries
- Interest in a business, partnership interests and money owed to you
- Interest in a trust that was set up by someone else
- Include the names and addresses of any co-owners of assets on your list
Debts and Obligations
For each of the following items, identify to whom the debt is owed; name, address and number of the account; amount of debt outstanding; and the repayment schedule.
- Home mortgages
- Car loans
- Credit card balances
- Any other debt
Identify Your Beneficiaries
Make a list of all of your close family members and friends whom you want to remember in your plans. List any charitable organizations you want to benefit after your lifetime as well.
If you are interested in supporting a charitable organization, contact me for information about it. We can help you find the gift that matches your goals.
Name your Personal Representative also called an Administrator/Executor
This person (or entity) shall:
- Be the manager of your estate.
- File your will for probate (the legal process of verifying your will).
- Collect and manage your assets.
- Pay your bills, funeral expenses, and any estate or inheritance taxes due.
- Distribute your assets to the heirs you have designated.
Your personal representative should be someone you trust—someone who can handle business matters and
someone who will also be sensitive to the needs and desires of you and your family. The personal representative is a
a fiduciary with obligations to the creditors, the interested taxing authorities, and, most importantantly to the heirs.
Ask About These Important Documents
When you meet with your attorney, ask about these five documents:
- Your will is a written document that directs your assets to the people and causes you care about, executed in accordance with the formalities required by state law.
- A revocable living trust can hold a majority of your assets during your lifetime, and it directs where the trust assets go later. This document can become the instrument by which your assets are distributed at your death, in essence acting like a will. Plus, assets in a living trust bypass the probate process.
- A durable power of attorney authorizes another person to make decisions for you—usually in financial matters—when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. A durable power of attorney remains effective if you should become ill or incapacitated, but it ends at death.
- A living will is a legal document that expresses your wishes about prolonging your life by artificial or extraordinary measures in the event of a serious illness. Although your attorney will draft your living will, you should discuss its provisions with your doctor to make sure he or she feels comfortable about carrying out its directions.
- A health care proxy is a written document that names the person you want to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. In essence, a health care proxy is a power of attorney for making health care decisions.