The process of creating an estate plan can make many people feel uneasy and intimidated However, having a comprehensive estate plan is vital to ensuring your loved ones are protected and your wishes are honored. Once you understand the importance of contingency day planning, the next step is to discuss it with your family. In most cases, these are the ones who will be carrying out your plan when you die. This is part of your contingency day plan.
However awkward it might feel, make a point to have regular discussions with loved ones about your plan. This allows you to clarify important information and ensure that your family correctly understands your wishes. As long as your children are of appropriate age, it is useful to include the entire family in contingency day planning discussions. During these discussions, you can make your wishes clear, answer questions, and provide necessary information to key people. It is helpful if you have these discussions annually to make sure everyone is up-to-date and on the same page. This might not be the most exciting Thanksgiving Day discussion, but it may be the most important.
Below is a list of several topics you may want to cover:
- Make sure key people know where estate planning documents (wills, trusts, health care directives) and other important paperwork is located. Important documents may include titles to property, investment records, tax information, banking records, and personal papers like your birth certificate, marriage license and military discharge records.
- Make sure family members are aware of any safe deposit box that you have, where it is kept and who has access to the key
- Discuss your selection of a guardian with your family, and make certain the guardian you have selected accepts the responsibility
- Review your life insurance policy and make sure it meets your current needs and the needs of your surviving family
- Review your retirement plan beneficiary designations
- Discuss any debts you may have and the method of repayment
This list provides only a sampling of contingency day issues you may want to address with your loved ones. For further advice and guidance, contact an experienced estate planning attorney who is a member of the AAEPA. A lawyer can explain your legal options and develop a comprehensive estate plan that suits your needs.