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How do I Get an Estate Plan Review Done During the Pandemic?

estate plan review
Many people are taking this time at home during the COVID-19 crisis to update their estate plan. Here are six critical estate plan components you should focus on, in light of the current pandemic.

Forbes’ April article entitled “6 Parts Of Your Estate Plan You Should Review Now” discusses doing an estate plan review due to the pandemic.

In this pandemic, who will make important financial and medical decisions for you, if you’re unable to make them for yourself?

Make certain that you’ve designated a person who is trustworthy and reliable. Don’t forget to name a back-up for your power of attorney and health care proxy.

Look at your will. Make sure the person you’ve named as the executor of your estate is current. This is the individual who’ll attend to your affairs after you die and take care of probating your will, if necessary. She will also file income and tax returns on behalf of the estate. If you have minor children, name a guardian for them in the will.

Review your trust. Your revocable living trust usually benefits you while you’re alive. It can also be used to benefit others, such as a spouse and children. Name those who will receive the assets at your death. If your beneficiaries are minors or not mature enough to handle a sizeable sum, you might hold assets for them in trust, until they’re old enough to handle the money themselves. Review your decision regarding your trustee and see that this is the right person to administer the trust, based on your wishes.  If you only have a will, consider upgrading to a living trust to avoid probate, maintain privacy, and make things easier for your family.

Be sure to fund the trust. Your estate plan review should include confirming that you have carried out all the proper trust-funding steps.  This will avoid probate of the assets on your death and lets the successor trustee control the assets for your benefit, if you’re incapacitated. If you fail to do so, it will create a host of problems after you’re gone. Your heirs will need court authority to access your assets, which can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

Update your beneficiary designations. This includes the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts and any brokerage accounts that are payable on death to a beneficiary.

Ask your Chicagoland estate planning attorney about helping with an estate plan review.  Most attorneys will not charge for reviewing an existing plan, and it is particularly important to have everything in order in the pandemic.

Reference: Forbes (April 15, 2020) “6 Parts Of Your Estate Plan You Should Review Now”

 

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