FAQs: After You’ve Created Your Estate Plan
WHERE TO STORE DOCUMENTS:
Store your Estate Planning documents in a safe but accessible place.
The will(s) can be stored in a safe deposit box;
The Trust(s), Powers of Attorney and Living Will should be kept at home in a safe, fire-proof place (i.e. a fire-proof safe which you can purchase at any mega-hardware store).
Tell your successors where your documents are located.
Tell your successor Trustee(s), Executors, and agents with power of attorney where you keep the originals;
Give Access to your Successors.
If you have a safe deposit box, be sure to give your successors you named in the documents a key and/or name them with the bank as authorized to access and remove the contents of the box.
WHO SHOULD HAVE COPIES:
Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Living Will:
give copies to your healthcare providers & put on your medical record;
give copies to your agent and successor agents named in the Powers;
Keep ORIGINALS on hand and bring to the hospital in an emergency.
Trust, Will(s) and Powers of Attorney for Property:
give copies to those you named as Trustee/Executor/Agent and successor Trustees/Executor/Agent.
take your Power of Attorney for Property to your bank and financial planner(s) and ask them to put it on file now;
provide a copy of your Trust (1st page, successor trustee page and signature page) to your asset managers/financial planners.
CHANGES OR AMENDMENTS:
NEVER make changes yourself. Do not write on the original documents. Changes you make yourself on the original documents will not be considered valid and could potentially invalidate/cancel the entire document.
We can draft Amendments. Contact us for a Free Update Consultation.
FINANCIAL ASSET DOCUMENTATION:
When you pass away, your Executor or Trustee (as applicable) will be responsible for collecting all asset information and distributing those assets. Make it easy for them by creating a list and keeping it in the same location as your estate planning documents.
Keep copies of Asset Statements from Financial firms in the same place you store your estate planning documents.
Create a List of Your Assets and give copies to us and your successors you named in your documents.
List the following information:
date you wrote the list
the account number or policy number
what kind of asset is it? E.g. investment portfolio, life insurance policy, real estate, vehicle, bank account, personal property such as jewelry, collections, artwork, etc.
asset’s approximate value
how the asset is titled or owned (in your name, or jointly - with whom?, or in your trust)
the financial advisor or contact person and company name who manages the asset, their address, email & phone number
who the beneficiaries are, if any.
LIST YOUR IMPORTANT CONTACTS:
Make a list of important contacts for your Successor Trustees/Executors/Agents with Power of Attorney that they’ll need to contact if you are disabled or pass away:
Your Attorney (that’s us!): The Law Offices of Hoy & Sahlas, LLC
Your Tax Preparer/Accountant
Your Financial Advisors
Your Medical Providers
KEEP OUR OFFICE UPDATED:
If you move - give us your new address;
If you merge, cash out, purchase or sell assets - tell us;
Periodically provide us with an updated list of assets as needed;
Check in with us each year to see if you should update your estate plan (changes may be needed if there are new laws or changes in yours or your family’s life circumstances, e.g. marriage, divorce, death, financial goals, etc.).
BUYING/SELLING A HOME AND FUTURE ASSETS:
New assets should be titled in the name of the Trust or have the Trust named as a beneficiary where appropriate.
In some cases, it may be beneficial to update your estate plan if your assets have significantly changed. Call us for a Free Estate Planning Update Consultation (630) 575-0400.
DIGITAL ASSETS FOR AFTER YOUR DEATH:
•If all your passwords are stored on your computer, be sure your successor Trustee or Executor or Power of Attorney for Property has login information to access your computer.
•For login information to important accounts, it’s best not to store your logins in an online document. Instead, export your logins from password managers like Keepass, LastPass, or 1Password to a CSV file and then encrypt it so it can be shared securely.
•Create a list of your email accounts, online subscriptions, accounts and social media profiles and provide all your correlating password information. For example: email accounts (username and password), cloud programs, news or online subscriptions, Amazon account, facebook, linkedin, pinterest, instagram, pandora or online music account, etc. Give it to your Agent and Successor Agents with Power of Attorney for Property, as well as the named Executor/Successor Executor of you Will and Successor Trustee of your Trust (if applicable). For more information, check out this article: How to Create an In-Case-of-Emergency Everything Document to Keep Your Loved Ones Informed if Worst Comes to Worst Be sure to update your list as necessary.
END OF LIFE DISCUSSIONS:
You may have already signed in our office what are known as “healthcare directives,” or “advanced medical directives,” i.e.:
an Illinois Power of Attorney for Healthcare and
a Living Will.
You should talk to your loved ones about your wishes for end of life issues/ life support. Discuss this with your Power of Attorney for Healthcare agent and successor agents. Many people find this uncomfortable but your loved ones will be greatly helped if they are ever in a situation where they need to medically speak on your behalf. When an agent with power of attorney for healthcare is in the difficult situation of making life and death decisions for their loved one, they often have very little time to process the decision and they are emotionally vulnerable and compromised. Often, family members who have to make end of life decisions or difficult medical treatment decisions on behalf of their loved one can carry a lot of guilt about that decision. You can prevent this by telling your loved ones up front what your wishes are so that it is your decision they carry out, and not their own.
Consider completing an Illinois Department of Public Health POLST form (Practicing Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) at http://www.polstil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Updated-POLST-2017.pdf This allows you to answer questions about your specific wishes for life support such as ventilators, kidney dialysis, feeding tubes, etc.
Visit the website, “the conversation project,” at theconversationproject.org for ideas on how to talk to your loved ones concerning your wishes for end-of-life issues.
LETTER TO YOUR EXECUTOR FOR PERSONAL PROPERTY:
You may have specified in your Will that you have written a letter to your Executor concerning certain items of personal property (artwork, collections, heirlooms, jewelry, etc.) that you want distributed after your death to certain loved ones or organizations. If so, create your own letter to your executor listing:
the item of personal property (describe it) and where it is located;
who you want the item to be given to after your death (full name and your relationship with that person);
keep the letter in the same place as your estate planning documents, and provide a copy to our office and your named Executor and Successors;
you may update this letter in the future as long as you tear up or destroy the old letter. Provide us with a copy.
CHANGING YOUR PERMANENT RESIDENCE TO A NEW STATE?
If you change your permanent residence from Illinois to a new State, your estate planning documents from Illinois will still be valid.
However, to ensure your goals are met and estate plan is up to date, you should hire a local, estate planning attorney in your new State to review your plan and make recommendations.
Funeral and Burial arrangements:
notify your Successor Trustee or Executor in your will if you have preferences regarding burial or cremation, and funeral arrangements;
keep your pre-paid funeral plans or burial plots documents in the same place as your estate planning documents, and give copies to our office.
Creating an Emergency Information Kit:
Keep all your information in one place that is a safe, fire-proof place (such as a fire-proof safe) and make your loved ones aware of its location. Scan these items so you can have a digital record of them as well. Encrypt the digital files, e.g., with TrueCrypt or upload them to Google Docs and share the files with your loved ones (make a note of them in the spreadsheet). Include:
Estate planning documents and medical directives:
personal records: Social Security card, Birth certificate, Passport, marriage certificate or divorce decrees, death certificate of spouse or parents, and any other official documents
Contact information: Both your contact information and your emergency contacts’ info. This includes your nearest relatives, your will executor(s), and employers.
Insurance: Homeowners, auto, medical, life, disability, and other insurance agents/brokers contact info and policy numbers
Financial accounts: Bank, investment, and credit card/loan accounts information, including institution names, phone numbers, & account #s
Health records: Immunization records, allergies, dietary restrictions, medications, medical/surgical treatments
Pet information: Description of each pet, vet contact information, and any important medical notes
Property: Car information, deed to your residence and other real estate, and other home inventory items.
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