WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Estate planning concerns the orderly care of your estate, your assets and liabilities, during your lifetime and the orderly transfer of your estate after your death. Yet, estate planning is more than routine attention to financial matters. It involves the careful development of a comprehensive plan for managing your property and assets while you are alive or incapacitated for any reason and for the ultimate transferring your property and assets. Estate planning assures you maximum personal and economic satisfaction if it's handled thoroughly.
A thorough estate planning program includes such basic topics as: the will, estate settlement, the family business, charitable giving, trusts, life insurance and pensions. Most of these topics apply to a majority of people planning their estate and the terms are not as complex as they sound. The key to understanding them is getting firsthand information from experts, such as an attorney, a trust officer, a development officer, an insurance representative and an accountant. Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project . The advice and experience of professionals is essential to generating and maintaining a comprehensive estate plan. There is actually a lot of thought that goes into the proper organization and management of your affairs for today and after your death. Many questions need to be addressed prior to the creation of the plan and then the implementation of the plan.
ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS:
Planning for your loved ones and yourself is not just a fill in a blank document that ends all of your worries and lives on all by itself. The planning process and actual portfolio of documents is a little more involved and it should be as you are preparing for you and your loved ones. The following list is presented to give you an idea of just how many issues and documents are involved in this process of love and management.
- Letter of Intent
- Grantor / family insights and expression of priorities for plan
- Letter of Instruction for Trustee(s)
- Identify administration priorities for care, legal and financial issues
- Trustee Advisory Committee Meeting Agenda (a sample)
- Review priorities – care, legal, financial – performance and planning
- Report on status and determine if changes are needed
- Living arrangements, daily activities, condition, treatment, staff
- Accounting, investments, disbursements
- Identify important or urgent issues
- Establish budget based on current needs
- Record keeping and accounting binder/folder for retention of documents and accountings
- Power of attorney for Financial Transactions
- Power of Attorney for Health Care - Patient Advocate Designation
- Supplemental Documents for Trusts
- Affidavit / Certificate of Trust and Authority
- Asset transfer (trust funding) document(s)