We understand that your estate planning isn’t necessarily the most fun thing on your to do list; it likely ranks right up there with going to the dentist. However, there’s good news. While you need to go to the dentist twice a year, you only need to meet with your estate planning attorney every three to five years. However, have your estate plan reviewed sooner than the three to five year mark if you have major changes in your life such as health changes, the death of a spouse or trusted helper, move to a new state, have a new child in your life, get married, or get divorced.
Now is a good time to mark tasks off your estate planning to do list. There’s no perfect time for estate planning, as there’s always other things to do: You have your job to get to, your family to provide for, grocery shopping, homework, the leaky roof, the leaves, and dinner. We understand; while now may not be the perfect time, it’s a good time to complete your estate planning to do list.
1. Find and hire a qualified estate planning attorney.
2. Fill out all the attorney’s forms and answer his or her questions.
3. Ask your potential trusted helpers if it’s okay to appoint them to positions of authority in your plan.
4. Sign your estate planning documents.
5. Work with your estate planning attorney to make sure that you own your assets properly.
6. Tell your trusted helpers and loved ones that you’ve engaged in the estate planning process. Show them where you keep your documents, certificates, financial statements, and other important papers. Make sure they know how to contact your estate planning attorney.
7. Jot down a list of all online accounts, passwords, user ids, and PINs. Include financial, photo-sharing, email, social media, and membership accounts. Update frequently.
8. Update your estate plan every three to five years; or, sooner if you have a major life change.
To accomplish number 1 on this estate planning to do list, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.