Estate Planning During Quarantine
In a time where many of us are spending more time in our homes than we expected, carve out some time in your day to give your estate plan a little spring cleaning. It may not require a mop and broom, but your estate plan still needs a little sprucing up from time to time.
Five Steps to Spring Clean Your Estate Planning
1. Review your accounts.
If you have a Revocable Living Trust, review your accounts to confirm those accounts are titled in the name of your trust. Your accounts, including checking, savings, money market, and CD accounts should be titled in the name of your trust. If you aren’t sure whether an account should be connected to your trust, ask your attorney. If you do not have a trust, have you named any joint owners or beneficiaries on your accounts? Review these to ensure you know who’s listed on each account and make a note of those names and accounts in a list to keep with your estate planning documents.
2. Review your beneficiary designations.
Check the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies, and confirm you have both primary beneficiaries and secondary beneficiaries in place. If you see that you have named a minor child, disabled person, or have named one person to use the funds on behalf of someone else, then touch base with your attorney. These can be problematic areas needing special care or planning. With the passing of the SECURE Act, there are also new rules controlling retirement accounts. If you haven’t spoken to your financial advisor or attorney about the SECURE Act, consider doing so this spring. Collier Law hosts free workshops on the Secure Act – check our website for dates.
3. Review your point people.
In an emergency, who do you have named to act on your behalf to handle your financial or medical decisions? Are you still happy with the people you chose when you put your plan together? Does the order need to be adjusted?
4. Update your address.
Have you moved? If you have a trust, was your new home connected to your trust properly? Did you let your estate planning attorney know about your new address? We love sharing updates in the law with our clients. We reach out by mail or email with important changes in the law that can impact planning. Be sure your attorney knows where to find you to alert you of these issues.
5. Consider your pets.
Who have you named to receive or place your pets on your passing? Is that person the right fit? Will they need some funds set aside to help care for your pets in the event of your incapacity or on your passing? The cost of caring for a turtle is not the same as the cost of caring for a horse. Make sure you have a plan for your pets that is current.
How Can Collier Law Help You?
Spring is a great time to review your estate planning documents and consider the decisions you have made. If you aren’t sure where to start on reviewing your plan, ask an attorney at Collier Law to help. Many law firms, our office included, offer free reviews and can make recommendations for how to make needed updates. Take the time to tackle your spring cleaning and blow the dust off that plan!