Meier & Barlow
Reason. Respect. Grace
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Start Thinking About an Estate Plan

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Developing an estate plan is the best intangible gift you can give your family, but the thought of doing so is not super glamorous. Very few people wake up in the morning and say, “I should start thinking about my estate plan today".

You know how you’ll never be inspired to work out, but if you actually put on your gym clothes and gym shoes, you are more likely to make your way to the gym? Try the same approach with your estate plan. Try making the following decisions and taking the following actions. Consider that to be equivalent to tying up your running shoes. It may inspire you to call an attorney the following week and to finally start drafting your estate planning documents!

DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN

  • If your children are minors, who will make day-to-day decisions for them in your absence?
  • What is important to your family in the event of your death?
    • Where will the children live? Who will care for them?
    • Where will they go to school?
    • What long-term and short-term goals and mandates do you have for your family?
  • Who will make financial decisions for them? Will that be the same person as the day-to-day decision-maker, or do you desire a system of checks and balances?
  • Do you want your children to inherit financial assets immediately on your death, or do you want them to get chunks of assets at certain ages?

DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR ASSETS

  • What are your assets currently?
    • Start by making a list of what you own.
    • Think about real property, personal property, household goods, valuables, bank accounts and other deposits, investments, stocks pension and retirement benefits, rents, accounts receivable, and other property.
  • What are your debts currently?
    • Think about mortgages, loans, monthly bills, medical bills, etc.
  • Do your assets have beneficiary provisions, and are they up-to-date?
  • Are there assets that could have beneficiary provisions that do not?
  • How would you like your assets to be divided during your life and/ or at your death?
  • Which person/people would you like to administer your estate as Executrix/ Administrator/ Trustee?
    • Which decisions would you like him/her/them to make?

DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR HEALTHCARE

  • Who would you like to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapable of doing same for yourself? It is smart to consider an alternate, as well.
  • Would you want life support or other life-sustaining measures if you were in a terminal condition?
Ashley Barlow