Protecting an estate requires that the proper legal work be in place and kept up to date. These protections may be as simple as assuring that beneficiary designations on insurance policies and retirement plans are up to date. Protection from legal hurdles (e.g., probate), taxes, and other burdens is usually accomplished via effective implementation of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Here is a short list of actions that clients should take to secure their estates:

  • Execute a Last Will and Testament, i.e., a Will.
  • Execute a durable power of attorney for financial matters.
  • Execute a durable power of attorney for healthcare choices.
  • Execute a Living Will or healthcare choices directive.
  • Review and update beneficiaries on all life insurance and/or annuity contracts, as well as all tax-deferred savings accounts, including employer sponsored plans and IRAs.
  • Design an estate plan, which will normally be associated with your Will.
  • Make sure proper insurance policies are in place.

Create a depository for important documents related to all of the above to which individuals acting on your behalf can be directed. Our clients are encouraged to use the Vault that is associated with our financial planning platform. Note, a safe deposit box is not recommended, since the bank will normally restrict access until proper documentation is delivered. You don’t want that documentation to be in the box.