A client recently asked, “How can I be sure I’ve tied up any loose ends in my estate plan?” What a timely question considering we are still in the midst of a pandemic, we live in a changing high-tech world and this past year was filled with unprecedented changes in the law. So let me answer her question for all of you. Once you’ve properly titled assets in the trust and completed beneficiary designation forms for retirement accounts and life insurance, here are the top three things you need to do to button up your plan.
First, successor trustees often can’t find the original estate planning documents so let them know where you keep the originals, and to the extent that you feel comfortable, share copies with those named as trustee, executor and health care agent.
Second, as more people invest in crypto currency, which by its nature is meant not be traceable, and in life insurance, which sometimes never gets collected, keep a current asset list, printed account statements and copies of all beneficiary designation forms with your original executed documents and update the printed records at least once a year. Otherwise, your loved ones may never receive your assets.
Third, with over 60% of Americans using online banking and keeping other assets online, it’s more critical than ever to give your trustee access to your passwords/log in information. Consider apps such as 1password.com or LastPass.com to keep track of passwords and keep your master password with your estate planning documents in a safe deposit box and fireproof safe.
That’s enough advice on avoiding pitfalls. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones during life is equally as important as planning for death and incapacity. May your holiday season sparkle and the coming year shine.
All our best for a good and healthy New Year.
Michelle and all of us at Lerman Law Partners, LLP