Everyone knows that you have to create a will or trust to express your wishes with regard to the way you want your monetary assets to be transferred after you are gone. At the same time, there are some finer details that you should attend to as well, and we will look at three of them here.
Letter of Final Instruction
If you use a will as the centerpiece of your estate plan, the administrator would be the executor, and a trustee administers a trust. You name the person or entity that will act as the administrator when you are drawing up your estate plan.
Explaining “who gets what” is one thing, but the administrator will need various different types of information to complete the tasks effectively. You can use a letter of final instruction to give the administrator the tools they will need to get the job done.
This letter should list the people that should be notified about your passing, and you should provide contact information. In addition to individuals that you know personally, this list should include professionals like your accountant, your life insurance agent, and your attorney.
The location of hard copy documents should be in the letter along with login information for the accounts that you manage online. You should let the administrator know how you want your social media accounts, blogs, and websites to be handled going forward.
In this letter, you can provide details about the way you want to be put to rest. If you made any arrangements in advance, you should certainly pass this information along.
These are some of the components that would typically be covered, but there are no rules. You simply think about the information that the administrator will need and cover all the bases.
Beneficiary and Successor Beneficiary Designations
When you fill out forms for your life insurance policies, individual retirement account, and payable on death accounts, you name a beneficiary. Over the years, circumstances may change, so you should always make sure that your primary beneficiary designations are up to date.
You should also have successor beneficiaries designated, and many people overlook this detail initially. A failure to name a successor beneficiary can result in unnecessary complications if the first beneficiary passes away before the transfers can be completed.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Your estate plan should address eventualities that you may face at the end of your life. Medical decision-making may become necessary when you are unable to communicate, and advance directives for health care are used to address this possibility.
With a living will, you can state your preferences regarding the use of life-support methods like artificial hydration and nutrition, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and mechanical respiration. The document can go on to include your comfort care medication and organ and tissue donation choices.
Another directive that should be part of the plan is a durable power of attorney for health care. You name someone to make decisions on your behalf in this document; these would be decisions that are not specifically related to the utilization of life-support.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patient privacy. A provision contained within it prevents doctors from sharing health care information with anyone other than the patient.
You should include a HIPAA authorization to give your health care representative the ability to discuss your condition with your physicians.
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We Are Here to Help!
If you have already learned enough to know that it is time to put a plan in place, our doors are open. You can send us a message set up an appointment at our Memphis, TN estate planning office, and we can be reached by phone at 901-763-2500 or 866-997-6325.