Monday Thoughts – 04/12/2010 – The Important Plan

A little over a week ago, a good friend’s father passed away.  The great loss of a family member can be compounded even more when there is not a solid estate plan.  While none of us like to think about that day, it is critical that we prepare a solid plan so the loved ones we leave behind are not left with a mess.  What is the current state of your estate plan?

Do you have a will?  (If not, please make it THE top priority to get one in place by the end of the month.)  If you have a will, when was the last time you updated it?  Does it conform to the latest laws?  If your estate is large enough, have you thought about a living trust?  If you have a living trust, have you changed the title of property into the trust name?  If you have property out of state, is it held in a trust?  Did you know if it is in your personal name, you have to probate in that state as well as the state you live in?  Is the ownership of your corporations and LLCs held in the trust?  Do you have enough term life insurance?  Does your family know where to find all of the important documents and accounts?  Do you have all the important documents in a single 3 ring binder so it is easy to locate (I call it the Red Book)?  Do you have a deal journal so your family can figure out all of the screwy deals you have done?  Are the passwords for your accounts and computers documented?  Have the beneficiaries for your retirement plans, life insurance, etc. been updated?  How difficult is your portfolio of investments to manage for the family left behind – does it take your skill set to manage it?  Are there clear instructions on how to generate immediate liquidity for the estate in your “Red Book”?  Etc, etc.

 Your estate plan and keeping it updated is a super important, but not urgent task.  It is critical that we make time for it for the loved ones we will leave behind.  How is your plan?