- They need a team of advisors: their lawyer, their accountant, and their financial advisor. These advisors need to know who each other are and cooperate with each other in the client’s best interest. These people need the current documents.
- The people the client has named as their power of attorney, healthcare surrogate, personal representative under their will, and successor trustee of their trust should receive copies of the documents in which they are named. Further these helpers need to have an explanation describing what their responsibilities are and what they are expected to do.
- (Review of 1st Step): They need a team of advisors
- (Review of 2nd Step): The named power of attorney should receive copies of the legal documents
- When disability or incapacity occurs, the responsible family member or appointed power of attorney needs to know what to do. If a trust is part of the estate of a disabled person, the successor trustee(s) need to know what their responsibilities are and what they must do.
- When death occurs, family members need to know who has responsibility to take action, what action(s) to take, how to identify what assets are owned by the decedent, the value of the assets owned at the date of death, and who will own what assets after death. Further, who is responsible to provide information to family members or other named beneficiaries, what is the correct information to provide and who is responsible to hold assets, account for them, file tax returns, and pay outstanding bills. These activities required after a client’s death are referred to as estate settlement, trust settlement and sometimes will and probate settlement. We are heavily involved in these activities and assist clients and their family members in handling the follow through with transfer or re-registration of assets, discuss what claims, expenses, and taxes must be paid, and what the most efficient, legally required, and least expensive process is to accomplish this.
- Estate Planning is not a transaction, it is a process in which every two to three years:
a. Read your power of attorney, will, trust, and living will documents carefully and verify that the people named are still able to serve and provisions providing for you are still appropriate.
b. If changes have occurred, address these issue through amendments or updated documents. Document that you have done this and when you have done it. Notify these reviews and changes to your follow up people, power of attorney, successor trustee, or personal representative named in your will.