Resolve to ensure your love for pets lives on with a legacy gift.
As the new year begins, it’s a great time to think about some of those things that we often avoid – making a budget, reviewing your insurance, locating important documents and making an estate plan.
An estate plan is important, especially if you have pets. Everyone, regardless of age, assets or marital status should have a plan.
Chances are you’ve heard stories about families fighting after the passing of a loved one who did not have their wishes documented appropriately, or a pet who wasn’t considered in the process.
An estate plan acts as a safety net that helps preserve the value of your assets and helps ensure the legacy you envisioned is carried out.
Here are five estate planning resolutions to consider for 2021.*
Resolution #1: Getting organized.
- Before contacting any professionals, it is important to get some items in order.
- Determine what your estate consists of. Do you have any financial accounts, retirement accounts, personal items, or do you own property? Do you have a coin collection or other items of value? Do you have family items or heirlooms that you want to make certain remain in the family?
- Do you know who is the current beneficiary of your financial accounts?
- Do you have a lockbox? Does anyone else know of the location and have an extra key?
Resolution #2: Build your team.
- Do you have any pets? Have you identified who would care for them in your absence?
- Have you identified the decision makers, such as who would make decisions for you if you were to become incapacitated?
- Do you have a financial power of attorney?
- Who do you trust to administer your estate once you are gone? It can be family, friend or a professional.
Resolution #3: Create documents and keep them safe.
- Bring in professionals to help you complete your plan. Draft a will or trust.
- A financial advisor, or a bank can help you set up or change a beneficiary designation on an account.
Resolution #4: Share the information.
- Make copies of your plan and give it to the people or organizations that are part of your plan. Inform your physician and ensure they have a copy of a health care power of attorney.
- Share with your loved ones. Let everyone know that you’ve created this plan. Tell them where the plan is located.
- Destroy any previous plans. Collect out of date instructions and destroy previous plans and instructions.
Resolution #5: Review and update your plan on a regular basis.
- Items that trigger the need for an update include getting married, divorced, moving, loss of a child, change of beneficiaries due to death or circumstances, change of financial circumstances. Update any individuals who were going to serve in a capacity of responsible who have now moved or become unable to serve.
*Compiled from content provided by Martin & Richards, PLLC Attorneys at Law during a virtual presentation to OHS supporters on Oct. 17, 2020.