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Spring Cleaning Once a Year? How Does That Apply to Estate Planning?

By October 27, 2012Estate Planning

Okay, so it’s not spring time yet, but don’t let that stop you!

During an initial estate planning consultation or review of an existing estate plan, it is vital to determine how everyone is getting organized. We’re not talking about if the shoes and shirts are organized in the closet or how the spices are looking on the spice rack. We are talking about important decisions and papers that need to be addressed at least once a year with spouses and loved ones.

Here’s a list to get you started:

1)     Location: Are the important papers organized in a certain location in the home? Where are they at?  In the Office? In a Safe Deposit Box?

2)     Communication: Does your spouse know where to locate the important papers as well as your estate plan? Will your loved ones know where to find them?

3)     Declutter: At least once a year go thru old papers; expired insurance policies; old bank statements, outdated tax records. Most documents can be thrown away once older than three years.

4)     Financial Accounts: Is there a list detailing all financial accounts by institution name and account number?  This should also include investment and retirement accounts, as well as insurance policy information.

5)     Passwords: Are the passwords kept in a place where your spouse or loved ones can find them?

6)     Safe Deposit Box: Where is the bank that holds your safe deposit box? Where is the key?

7)     Disposition of Remains: Would you choose to be buried or cremated? Do you want a Funeral? Have you expressed a desire for special hymns or other preferences?

All too often with married couples, the spouse that was in charge of the finances is the first one to become incapacitated or die. Communication is key with your spouse about important documents, financial accounts and other decisions.  These discussions should take place at least once a year. Also insure you involve the children and/or other family members in these yearly discussions as it can be very helpful especially in the case of single individuals. Pre-planning now will save your loved ones from confusion, frustration and a possible loss of estate assets.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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