Estate Planning – Next Steps, Part 2
Again, congratulations! Not only have you executed your estate planning documents, but you also have reviewed the beneficiaries of your life insurance and retirement accounts and created your account with the Social Security Administration in order to appoint representative payees.
Now it is time to review the remaining pages in the Estate Planning Book that you received when you executed your documents. The following list summarizes each section of the Table of Contents and the final steps in the process of setting a plan in place for your loved ones.
- Executor Instructions. This section has important information about the responsibilities and duties of the Executor and explains how to proceed with probating the Will.
- Funeral Instructions. Once you have taken the time to think about this important ritual, you can memorialize here exactly what you want. This step will give your loved ones direction during a difficult time of grieving. There are a multitude of options not mentioned here. You can also consider a green burial or donating your body to a medical school.
- Financial Information. The first page here will provide your executor and loved ones with the location of your important papers. A copy of this page should be handed to your Executor now so those papers can easily be found. Following this page are several places to list the assets that you own. By filling out this information, you will make the executor’s job much easier. The Real Estate page asks for information about major improvements to your real estate which will help if the executor sells the real property.
- Will. The original and 1 copy are placed here. Please only use the copy if anyone needs to see the Will. The original will be needed for probate.
- Financial Power of Attorney. The original and 1 copy are placed here. The named agent will need this document if you become incapacitated in order to manage your financial accounts. This document is no longer valid once you pass away.
- Medical Power of Attorney. The original and 1 copy are here. Doctors or health insurers will need this document if you become incapacitated so that your agent can communicate with them.
- Directive to Physicians. The original and 1 copy are here. The hospital will need this document if you are there on life support.
- Miscellaneous Documents. The first page here allows you to identify any personal property items that you want to pass to a specific person. This list should consist only of small personal property items like jewelry, artwork, tools, or guns. These items were not mentioned in your will.