Do I Have My Estate Planning Documents In Order?

Karen B. Arthur |
Posted on Jan 01, 2018

Have you ever thought about your estate plan? We think about and plan many things in life such as when and where to go on vacation, how to save for retirement, when to buy a house, when to get married, when to start a family, but do we think about our ultimate estate plan? Below is a list of estate planning tools and documents you will want to think about in preparation for that event.

  • Last Will and Testament - is a written legal document that determines how your property and assets will be distributed after death. The Will names your executor to ensure your wishes are carried out. The executor is responsible for safeguarding assets of your estate, paying debts, collecting money owed to the estate, and filing tax returns. Your Will may also name a Guardian for any minor children you may have. A Will may also name a Trustee of any trusts created in your Will. A Trustee can be an individual or firm that holds and administers property in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.
  • Living Will - which is also known as an advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that ensures your wishes regarding medical care in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. You may want to consult with your attorney to determine whether a medical power of attorney may be necessary as well.
  • Financial Power of Attorney - this documents allows you to designate a person to manage your affairs if you are not able to manage them yourself. This document allows you to determine when the appointment goes into effect, whether it is immediately, upon a specific event, or only in certain circumstances. It is important to note a Power of Attorney ceases upon the death of the creator of the document.

When your basic estate planning documents are in place it is important to perform periodic reviews to ensure nothing has changed that would disrupt your estate plan. A check of your named beneficiaries on insurance policies and IRA's (Individual Retirement Accounts) is advisable. It is prudent to let your executor know where your important papers are in order to aid in a smooth estate administration.

Please feel free to contact us to become better acquainted with us and the wide variety of services we can provide, some of which are outlined above.

Karen B. Arthur - First Vice President/Trust Services Manager

Karen B. Arthur
First Vice President/Trust Services Manager