Column, Money Matters

Post estate & gift planning — to do list

By Kevin Theissen

October is Estate and Gift Planning Awareness Month, which is an annual effort by the Financial Awareness Foundation. Let’s assume that you just updated or created your estate & gift Plans, so now what do you do?

After your proper estate and gift plan documents are drafted, reviewed, adjusted and signed, here are some finishing touches to consider:

  • Place your hard copy estate and gift plan documents in a financial organizer and store in a fireproof place. Do the same for your digital copies, maybe in a secured cloud vault.
  • Coordinate the title of your property with your plan documents.
  • Review/update your primary and alternate beneficiaries for life insurance and retirement plans.
  • Review your insurance needs; acquire or drop insurance as appropriate.
  • Complete estate and gift planning location sheet (where you keep things) for attorney, executor/trustee.
  • Speak with your executor, trustee(s), and attorney-in-fact about your wishes and your documents. Address concerns about pets if not addressed in your documents.
  • Consider writing a final letter to loved ones.
  • Consider creating a quality-of-life statement to accompany your advance healthcare directive.
  • Begin thinking about your legacy wishes and goals; consider establishing a donor advised fund, foundation, nonprofit or other advanced planning vehicles to help reach your goals. A
  • nnually prepare a list of assets & liabilities (your net worth) and make copies of year-end statements and place them with your estate and gift plan documents.
  • If your financial situation has changed significantly or the estate and gift tax laws have changed, consider rethinking your estate and gift plans and documents to best fit your needs.
  • Annually review — or sooner if there are major changes to your family or financial situation, objects, or tax laws — your estate and gift plan documents and these finishing touches to make sure they are in order

Once your children reach adulthood, consider having annual financial family meetings to discuss financial, estate, and gift planning matters and to pass on personal values, knowledge and assets to future generations to make their lives & this world a better place.

Kevin Theissen is the owner of HWC Financial in Ludlow.

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