Happy New Year from The Burial Advisor! With resolutions flying around (some which will surely be broken by the time you read this) why not make a resolution to take your final plans more seriously and start estate planning? Use this estate planning checklist to get started:
- A Will: This is the most common item, and you may have already begun to determine which children and grandchildren will receive your fine china and jewelry collection. Your will alone is not enough – you will need to designate an executor (spouse, eldest child, etc)who will ensure the payment of your final expenses and distribute your assets after you pass.
- A Living Will / Power of Attorney: Depending on what state you live in, these measures may be separate or combined. Power of attorney gives another person the authorization to speak for you and make medical decisions in the event that you are alive but unable. A living will is a document that states your intentions on medical procedures, but does not give another person the right to make those decisions for you. One or both of these can help avoid family conflicts and possible legal intervention in the event that you are rendered unable to make your own decisions.
- Updated Beneficiary Forms: Over the years, things change – the beneficiary listed on your pension plan may be different from who you originally intended. Beneficiary forms, even if filled many years ago, will supercede what is written in a will. So, if you want to make sure your current spouse (and not your ex-spouse!) is entitled to your company 401K plan, make sure to have all beneficiary forms updated with the correct information.
- A Burial Plan: Some family members think they know how their loved ones wish to be interred, but no one knows that better than you. Burial pre-planning allows you to choose burial products that reflect your personality. One last way to ensure your final wishes are granted would be to consider the pre-plan services.
Nothing can tear a family apart faster during this highly stressful and devastating time than disputes over money after. A marriage, divorce, or new child / grandchild can change your outlook on the legacy you want to leave. With just a few tips you can ensure that your affairs are in order by starting the estate planning process today!