Apropos to the topic, Pablo Picasso was once quoted as saying that we should “only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”. Though the artist’s subtlety had a bit of drama attached, he does drive home the fact that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Unfortunately, a poorly planned-for death can lead to repercussions that cannot be undone or fixed. As estate planning lawyers in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can help with any of these elements that you have questions about. Starting today, make sure to prepare for your death by doing the following:
- Take an inventory and make lists. Do a walk-through of your home and inventory all of your personal possessions worth more than $100. This should include electronics, power tools, computers, appliances, guns, cars and the home itself. On a separate list, take inventory of your non-physical assets. This should include any and all bank accounts, your 401k plans, IRA’s, all insurance policies, including life and health and any other monetary assets. You’ll also need a list of any and all debt; mortgages, car loans, credit cards and any other outstanding debt. The last list you need to prepare is one that includes any charitable organizations that you would like to continue supporting. Sign and date these lists, make copies of each and send one to your estate planner, give one to your spouse and keep one for yourself in a safe place.
- Assess your life insurance. Make sure that your beneficiaries for life insurance benefits and annuities are correct; making changes as needed.
- Set up transfer-on-death features on CD accounts and other brokerage accounts to avoid probate of these items.
- Select an administrator of your estate. Obviously, this person will need to be of sound mental state and is someone you trust to fulfill your wishes.
- Create a will and make copies. Enlist the help of an estate planner to help if needed.
- These documents will need to be reviewed and updated after every life-changing event.