Thursday, February 28, 2008

February Dubbed "Let's Review our Will Month"

I have dubbed February as "Let's Review our Will Month" and it is rapidly coming to an end. To help you and those in your network look at this critical document and determine if what the Will says continues to meet the maker's goals and needs, I have developed an Estate Plan Review Checklist.

The Estate Plan Review Checklist is a detailed checklist poses questions to help a person evaluate the suitability of their current estate plan. Some questions posed include:

* Do you have a (i) Last Will and Testament, (ii) General Durable Power of Attorney, and (iii) Health Care Power of Attorney/Health Care Proxy/Living Will? Every complete estate plan must contain at least these 3 documents.

* Have you moved since you last updated your estate planning documents? If you moved from one state to another, there may be questions of the interpretation or validity of your existing estate planning documents in your new state of residence. Generally, estate planning documents executed in one state will be valid in another state, but your new state of residence may have specific statutes or tax laws that are not addressed in your existing estate planning documents. You may want to contact an attorney in your new state of residence to advise you as to what might need to be updated.

* Do you have a separate personal property designation? This is a separate writing where you indicate who should receive specific items of your personal property such as photographs, jewelry, art work, etc. If you have one, you should review it and make sure that it is still is an expression of your wishes. If you don’t have a personal property designation, you may want to consider creating one so that specific items will go to specific people.

* Is any person receiving your personal property a minor (under 18)? If so, your estate plan should make provisions for that property to be held by the minor’s Guardian until he or she attains an appropriate age.

* Do you have any specific gifts or bequests you want to make? Any gift of a cash amount or of an asset other than personal property should be stated in your Will. If you have given away a specific asset to a person in your existing Will (i.e. your shore house), be sure that the asset still exists. Also, your Will should provide for what happens if the specific asset is sold during your lifetime.

and many more.....


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