When your estate plan is complete, there’s still one more step you need to take. It’s important that you make sure the people you name in your estate planning documents who will need to take action at some point, like your children, know certain things.
What are the details of your durable power of attorney, living will, and health care proxy?
Communicate who you designated to control your finances and legal matters if you become unable to do so yourself. Let them know who will make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and how you would want to proceed in specific health circumstances in regard to receiving medical treatment or in the event of a terminal illness. Your children should know where these documents are located.
Do you have a living trust and/or a will and where are they located?
Contents of a living trust avoid probate, so a trust saves your family both time and money. Tell your children what assets are in the trust and who the successor trustee will be when you become unable to manage the trust. It’s a good idea for your children to know, in general, the contents of your will so there aren’t any surprises, and they should know who the executor is. You should also let your kids know where the documents are.
Who are the financial and legal professionals you depend on?
The agent of your power of attorney, your successor trustee, and your executor should have the appropriate contact information for your life insurance, attorney, accountant, financial firms, etc.
What is your personal information?
Information like your Social Security number, a copy of your driver’s license, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, a history of your places of residence, and even some other details can be very helpful. Identity theft is a major issue, so it’s often necessary for someone who becomes your agent to provide this information before they’re allowed to take action.
Would you want to pay to receive care in your home or would you prefer to move to an assisted living residence?
Share your thoughts about whether you want to stay in your current home for as long as possible, move to an apartment which would be easier to take care of, live in an independent living residence where it’s easier to be more social, or a choose a place that offers supportive services like an assisted living residence.
What are your choices for any final arrangements?
Help your children by making it clear what you want in regard to a funeral, wake, burial, or cremation. If you have multiple children, they might have different ideas on what you want.