1) Get Organized - Ensure your personal information - bank account and investment contract numbers, insurance policies, tax information, etc. - are up to date and stored somewhere safe and accessible by your advisor, attorney, beneficiaries or family members.
2) Check your Will - Make sure you have a will and it reflects your current intentions. Do the same with any power of attorney or other legal documents. If you don't have a will, or need to change it, contact me or someone you trust to obtain the name of an estate lawyer ho can help draft yours.
3) Name Names - Select an executor for your estate and ensure that all beneficiary designations complement those outlined within your will.
4) Consolidate your Finances - Streamline your investments and bank accounts to simplify administration. Having joint accounts makes it easier to ensure resources are readily available.
5) Minimize Taxes - Consider investments and strategies that allow your estate to bypass probate and minimize the tax bill for the next generation.
6) Discuss your Plans with your Family - Keeping them informed can help them understand your decisions.
Over time, situations change. Your children become adults, tax laws change, your executor ages. It is important to review your plans every few years to ensure that they are still appropriate.