by following the checklist, an individual can get an idea of the estate laws in their state and choose which forms suit their personal financial situation best. in addition, someone can establish who will get what after they die and whether it’s best for the estate to go through the probate process. advance directive – choose a person to assist and make medical decisions in the chance someone cannot do so for themselves. last will and testament – used to designate how personal assets will be distributed after death. power of attorney – select an individual to act as an agent and make financial decisions while alive. to create an estate plan, an individual will need to understand the laws in their state and gather a list of their assets. this will involve completing the following forms: durable power of attorney allows an individual to select a financial agent to handle their financial responsibilities on their behalf (referred to as an ‘attorney-in-fact’).
there is no requirement for this person to be an attorney. in order to begin managing the assets of the individual, a list of assets will need to be made to have an idea of its value. the beneficiaries are the individuals that will be given the estate assets after the person dies. the person can choose to give their assets to whomever they choose and is not only limited to individuals but also companies or organizations, such as non-profit institutions. they must be done in accordance with their state’s execution laws which usually involve two (2) witnesses and a notary public. it is important that the witnesses are not mentioned in the estate documents, meaning that they cannot be the financial agent or a beneficiary. the ideal location is with the individual’s attorney along with providing copies to trusted family members and friends.
however, whether you are preparing for a meeting with an attorney or have decided to prepare your own documents, these sites provide useful information to help you make an informed decision. here’s a free estate planning questionnaire that you might find helpful to fill out before meeting with your attorney. this is a way to be prepared with the information you need prior to seeing the attorney. we don’t recommend the “checklist” forms, but encourage you to write your wishes after discussing them with your family. it is important to remember that each state has its own laws regarding advance directives.
once you have completed your advance directive, we recommend registering it with the us living will registry. in addition to making your advance directive available 24/7, this organization sends you a letter each year to update your personal and emergency contact information. while these are specific to the renaissance group, they will give you a feel for the limitless possibilities available in providing a charitable remainder trust. both of these documents can be accessed through the irs website pubs 526 and 561. we’d love to hear your comments or opinions. just type!…your submission will appear on a web page exactly the way you enter it here. you can wrap a word in square brackets to make it appear bold.
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