Estate planning isn’t always the most fun topic to discuss, however not planning for incapacity or death can be a really big hole in your financial boat. And we wouldn’t be doing our fiduciary duty if we avoided this discussion simply because it is uncomfortable. So let’s talk about it!
Please keep in mind that we are not estate attorneys, and we defer to the experts when it comes to legal advice. Following are general guidelines and resources to get you thinking about this very important topic.
At the very least, we recommend our clients have the following documents prepared:
- Will(s) that include a children’s trust if you have minor children
- Medical and financial powers of attorney
- Advance directive and HIPAA documents.
This is the core of your estate plan, and will make things a lot smoother for your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death. Are we having fun yet?
You might also consider a trust (of which there are several types) and evaluate the benefits of different estate planning tools for charitable giving and other bequests if this is important to you.
When to revisit your estate plan
If you don’t have any estate documents in place, then that’s an easy recommendation - get those done! The sooner, the better. The cost is small relative to the value it provides.
If you have documents but they more than 10 years old, then it’s definitely time to have them updated. Chances are, things have changed in your life since 2011. At that time, Facebook wasn’t yet a publicly traded company and the iPhone was only on it’s 4th generation. Time flies!
Other life changes (besides just the passage of time) can also trigger a review of your estate plan. Marriage, divorce, children reaching majority age, moving to a new state (among other events), and/or new goals for end of life giving can all mean it’s time to revisit your documents as well as the beneficiary designations on all of your accounts.
Resources and Contacts
We can highly recommend contacting Leah Morabito to work with in creating or updating your estate planning documents. She is located in Gaithersburg and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more about her here.
You can also visit this link to see a list of estate attorneys in Maryland. There is certainly no shortage to choose from. And if you are not in Maryland, here is a nationwide directory.
We’ll be checking in with you about the status of your overall estate plan during our financial review meetings this fall. Also take a look at the attached documents for a couple of checklists on the types of things you should be thinking about when reviewing and updating your estate plan. These are simply things to be thinking about and we can go into more detail in the fall.