Most people know about estate planning basics: documents like the last will and testament, power of attorney, living will, and sometimes a living trust. While these documents provide protection and peace of mind both before and after death, they still don’t make up an entire, complete estate plan. The following are five ways you can make your estate plan more comprehensive.
Insurance policies and some financial and retirement accounts are not always impacted by estate planning, since they rely on beneficiary designations when distributing funds to beneficiaries. However, there are times when these policies and accounts should be adjusted along with the estate plan. Additionally, if there is no beneficiary listed on any of those policies or accounts, or if the beneficiary listed has already passed away, then those assets must go through probate following death. An Ohio elder law attorney can work with you to set up proper beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and financial accounts.
Letter to Family
While a last will and testament or trust document can direct how your assets are distributed to your loved ones, they usually do not provide any explanations as to the decisions you’ve made concerning your legacy. This can be a problem, especially if certain loved ones do not receive as much of an inheritance as others. Leaving a letter explaining your decisions can help to quell family disputes or hard feelings that may arise after you pass away.
End of Life Arrangements
Like your decisions concerning inheritance, a last will and testament does not provide any instructions concerning your funeral or other final arrangements. These instructions can be left in a letter, or a document known as the disposition of remains. If you have specific wishes you’d like carried out after you pass away, speak with an Ohio elder law attorney to determine the best way to let your loved ones know your wishes in this matter.
Business Succession Plans
If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to craft a business succession plan alongside your estate plan. A business succession plan allows you to determine what happens to your business, or your share of a business, after your death. For more information, you should speak with an Ohio elder law attorney who has experience with business succession planning.
Safe Document Storage
Once all your decisions have been made and your documents are signed, you must make sure they do not disappear. Whether it’s in a physical safe or saved on the cloud, make sure your executor, trustee, or other agents know how to access your documents when the time comes.
For more information about crafting a comprehensive estate plan, or if you’d like to discuss your existing estate plan, please contact our Ohio elder law office at 877-653-3450 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.