I recently returned from a trip to Hawaii, where I visited my family and attended my brother's wedding. My two kids left a week before me with my parents, and that gave me some time to think about whether my estate plan was up to date. No, it was not. My guardian designations were outdated, my trustee designations were no longer going to work for my situation, and the new revisions to the Oregon Inheritance Tax created a big problem for my estate. Honestly, I am embarrassed to say that I thought, "My plane is not going to crash. I don't plan on dying. This can wait." But after the couple of weeks I just had with a friend dying and with two friends winding up in the hospital, I quickly shook off that nonsense. I needed to update my plan. A lot had changed in my life since I last updated it.
I decided to show you what things look like now. Here is a list of everything in my binder and what you need to include in your plan:
- KidsCare Plan: Long-term guardian designations; short-term guardian designations; instructions to caregivers about emergency plan; instructions to guardian about long-term care of kids; wallet ID cards (TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE KIDS CARE PLAN, CLICK HERE);
- Overview: The "Cliff's Notes" of the trust;
- Trust Agreement: Outlines terms of trust during lifetime and how assets are to be distributed after death; names Trustees;
- Pour-Over Will: Names Personal Representative and "catches" and assets that may have been left out of the trust;
- Nominations: A quick reference to see who is involved in the plan;
- Personal Information: Your most recent personal and financial information sheet;
- Funding Instructions: Shows you how to title assets and is handy to refer to when you acquire assets in the future;
- Power of Attorney: Names an agent to act for you financially if you are incapacitated;
- Privacy Affidavit: The short and sweet version of what banks and other institutions need to know about your trust;
- Trust Assets: Includes your asset spreadsheet, confirmation of asset transfers, and any information about your assets that your trustee will need to know;
- HIPAA Release: Allows your trustees and representatives to gain access to your medical records without a court order, saving your family money if you are incapacitated;
- Advance Directive: Names a Healthcare Representative to make healthcare decisions for you and outlines your healthcare wishes;
- Memorial Instructions: Everything your family needs to know to prepare an obituary, notify friends and groups of your passing, and plan a memorial service;
- Property Agreements: Any agreements you have with people you co-own property with;
- Personal Property Memorandum: Gives away specific items to specific people;
- Other Documents: This can include a Letter of Instruction to your trustee and letters you or your lawyer writes to your fiduciaries;
- Trust ID Card: This is handy to carry in your wallet to remind you how your trust should be titled;
- CD of Documents: For ease in sending any documents to fiduciaries, banks or other institutions, or doctors;
- Family Treasures Conversation: A recorded message to your family so that you can say all the things you want to make sure you've said.
Of course, you may need more than this if your estate will be subject to estate taxes, or if you need to incorporate asset protection or business succession into your plan. The most important part of your plan is professional counsel. An estate planning attorney will be able to guide you in the direction that is right for your family.
To your family's health & prosperity,
P.S. Want to get started on the most important planning you'll ever do for your family? Give our office a call at (503) 235-5150 to get started. You'll be glad you did.