Spring Break season is here and you need to add one more thing to your to-do list before you hop on that plane: your estate plan. When we travel we are obviously reminded of the possibility we might not come home. We know, it’s not great. But estate planning can bring comfort knowing your affairs are in order.
Here is a checklist to do before your next trip:
1. Make an estate plan. We know your budget might be tight, so start with what you can fit in. A will, power of attorney, or health care directive is a great place to start. And with LivingTrustify, you can finish it today.
2. Review your estate plan. You need to make sure changes in your life don’t affect your estate plan. Think finances, tax laws or if your trustee or executor are still suited for the job. You can update these items for free within one year of creating your estate plan with LivingTrustify.
3. Designate a beneficiary. If your beneficiary has died or if you are now divorced, update immediately. If your beneficiary is a minor or is incapacitated, setting up a trust for them and naming the trust as beneficiary will prevent these decisions from being made in court.
4. Name a guardian. Remember that if you don’t name a guardian for your minor children, the court will name one for you. Select someone responsible to manage your inheritance and update that person with time. Age, current relationship status, and proximity are all deciding factors. You should also select a backup guardian.
5. Prepare incapacity documents. Remember everyone in your family over the age of 18 needs both an advance health care directive (legal ability to make health care decisions) and a HIPPA Authorization (written consent for doctors to discuss your medial situation with others).
6. Review your life insurance. Be sure the coverage amount on your life insurance sill meets your family’s needs.
7. Make accounts and documents accessible. So much of our lives are online now, so make it easier for your trustee/administrator and organize the information they will need. A list of all your accounts, location and usernames and passwords is extremely useful. It is a good rule of thumb to update these before each trip. Put your financial and other documents where someone can easily find them (perhaps a computer desktop folder) and create a backup. Print a copy in case your computer is inaccessible.
8. Tell your children the plan. The more your kids understand your plan, they more likely they will be willing to accept it.