A lot of people think that they are done with the estate planning process when they finally take the time to draw up a simple will. This is common among those that think that do-it-yourself estate planning is an effective way to record your final wishes.
In reality, this is a shortsighted perspective, because there are additional aspects that should be addressed. Plus, in many if not most cases, a will is not the ideal asset transfer vehicle to utilize.
One detail that is often overlooked is the designation of alternates. If you have life insurance policies and/or a 401(k), you name a beneficiary, or multiple beneficiaries. You should also add alternates that would become the beneficiaries if the first choices are not available.
The same thing is true for your executor or trustee. When you have alternates in place, you prevent complicated circumstances and unintended negative consequences.
Letter of Final Instruction
Your estate administrator will need a good bit of information that only you can provide, and you can share it in a letter of final instruction. Contact information for the people that should be notified about your passing is one of the details that should be addressed.
If you have cryptocurrency, the access information should be confidentially shared. This will also apply to login information for online financial accounts, blogs, websites, and social media accounts.
You should record the location of physical property and provide keys and access codes. And of course, the administrator will need access to all relevant hardcopy documents.
Advance Directives for Health Care
The financial part of the equation is definitely at the core of the estate planning process, but there is another consideration. Though it is not a very pleasant subject to think about, you should address end-of-life eventualities when you plan your estate.
In some cases, doctors can keep people alive indefinitely through the use of artificial life-sustaining measures like feeding tubes, resuscitation, artificial hydration, etc. You can express your life-support utilization preferences in a living will.
If you want to be specific, you can cover different types of life-support separately. The document can also contain your organ and tissue donation choices and comfort care medication preferences.
Medical situations can present themselves that are not related to life-support when you are unable to communicate. To account for this type of scenario, you can name an agent to make decisions on your behalf in a durable power of attorney for health care.
A provision in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patient privacy with regard to sharing medical information. Doctors cannot speak about your condition with anyone unless you sign a HIPAA release, so this should be part of your incapacity plan.
Access Our Free Worksheet!
If you are interested in learning more about estate planning, we invite you to explore our site, because we have a treasure trove of written materials. These resources are available free of charge, and one of them is our estate planning worksheet.
You will gain a better understanding of this essential process if you take the time to go through it, and you can get your copy right now if you visit our worksheet access page.
Take Action Today!
Action is required if you have been going through life without an estate plan. When you work with our firm, we will gain an understanding of your situation and make recommendations. At the end of the process, you will have a tailor-made plan that is ideal for you and your family.
As time goes on, we will always be available to revise your plan when life changes make revisions necessary. If you are ready to make the initial connection, you can schedule a consultation at our Cincinnati estate planning office if you call us at 513-721-1513.
There is also a contact form on this site you can fill out to send us a message, if you reach out electronically, you will receive a prompt response.