Hinshaw Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Have A Living Trust Based Estate Plan. What Else Should I Do?

A few thoughts about the "simple things" that folks should remember to do as part of their estate plan:  

1)  Make a list of all your logins and passwords for everything.  This may be obvious, but you don't want to be on your deathbed, providing logins and passwords for important websites.  

2)  Keep old tax documents:  the Internal Revenue Service may audit you even after your death, which is why it’s vital to keep old tax documents for several years after someone has died.

3)  Make a summary of your medical history so children and grandchildren know if there is a history of allergies, for example, or diabetes.

4)  Make sure you list what companies and services direct-debit from your bank accounts and credit cards so they don’t continue after those accounts are closed.  A hypothetical example:  an estate planning client's children closed their father’s bank account when he couldn’t handle his own affairs.  Unbeknownst to them, an insurance policy worth over $1 million was kept active by direct debits from that account.  The insurance policy was terminated for nonpayment.

5)  Don’t forget the most mundane things, like how your house works: the alarm, the sprinkler system, the key to the shed out back. Look at your house as if you were renting it to strangers for the summer and needed to leave instructions.

6)  Lastly, think about writing a letter or letters to those closest to you to be read after your death.  It would likely mean the world to your children and other loved ones if they had just one more letter from you.

Hinshaw Estate Planning is a practice group of Hinshaw, Marsh, Still & Hinshaw and assists clients in matters related to Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Planning for Children, Inheritance Protection, and Estate & Trust Litigation in the areas of Saratoga, San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto within Santa Clara County, the areas of Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley, San Carlos, and Redwood City within San Mateo County, and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

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