“These crazy times feel a bit like a “zombie apocalypse” and end of life planning seems even more relevant now,” according to Elder Law Attorney Lora Johnson, who gave permission to share the following text:
Many who have been putting off doing their final plans, are now urgently trying to get them done, while others are seeking to make revisions.
If you have previously done your planning, be sure the people you have named as decision-makers are still appropriate and are listed in priority order. Also confirm that your designated primary and contingent beneficiaries are still correct.
If you have created a trust, it is imperative to verify that your assets are titled in your Trust. This cannot be stressed enough! Just because an asset is listed on the schedule at the end of your Trust, does not mean that it is in your Trust. An asset must either be owned by the Trust or the Trust named as a beneficiary at your death.
Be sure to let their decision-makers know:
- Documents have been prepared
- Where original documents are located
- The phone number of the preparer
- Instructions of how to access the documents (e.g., how to get into your home or safety deposit box?)
Tie up loose ends!
- Personal property items you wish to go to specific individuals should be designated in your own handwriting, signed, dated and included with your trust/will documents.
- Be sure to also include details that will enable your successors to handle your funeral arrangements with confidence.
- Indicate if you want to be cremated or buried, if you have purchased a plot, where you wish to be buried or interred, if you wish to donate your organs, etc.
- Include copies of your important documents in your estate planning notebook so successors can fill out death certificate information, process life insurance claims, close bank accounts, etc. This might include a copy of:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decree
- Military separation paperwork (DD-214)
- Medicare cards, etc.
If you are a planner and would like to access a wonderful notebook plan, please visit: seniorcareorganizer.com. If you are a caregiver, being organized is vital! You have a moral obligation to protect those you care for and make provisions for your loved one, if for some reason you precede them in death.
Once plans are finalized, write a letter to your family. Convey your love and express your wishes for them. Explain anything in your plans that they might be surprised by. Let them know how important it is to you that they get along with each other to avoid conflicts while making your final arrangements and while your estate is being settled. This letter can go a long way towards ensuring that your wishes are carried out and may help lead to future family harmony.
Sincerest appreciation to:
Lora Johnson, Attorney at Law, Johnson & Associates, PLLC, Avondale, AZ 85392 JohnsonEstateLaw.com