“Estate” may sound like a fancy word, but everyone has one. Your estate is made up of everything you own – your car, home, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, and your prized baseball card collection. To ensure what you have is given to the people or organizations you care about most, you will need to provide instructions on how to handle your estate after your death. Below are elements everyone should consider to guarantee your wishes are carried out.
Make a Will
A will designates who will inherit your assets, who will be the executor of your estate, and who will care for any minor children you leave behind.
Consider a Trust
Holding property in a living trust can shield your survivors from the time and expense of probate court. A trust may also make it easier to transfer assets to a minor.
Consider Your Health Care Directives
A living will outlines your healthcare instructions and a medical power of attorney names one person who will make decisions for you if you cannot.
Name a Financial Power of Attorney
Gives a trusted person authority to handle your finances and property, should you become incapacitated.
File Beneficiary Forms
OPERS, SoonerSave, and EGID each have specific beneficiary forms. Always keep these forms current.
Look into Life Insurance
Life insurance is a good idea for those who may leave dependents or significant financial obligations behind.
Plan Final Arrangements
Making final arrangements provides an opportunity to let your intentions be known regarding difficult topics such as organ donation, burial/cremation, and type of service/memorial. These arrangements can also lighten the burden of loved ones who are coping with your loss.
Keep important documents, such as wills, trusts, insurance policies, copies of beneficiary forms and bank information, in a safe place where your executor (the person you choose to administer your estate) will be able to access them.
Take time today to set up your estate plan, your loved ones will be glad you did.
This article was first published in the Winter 2017 edition of the Retiring Right newsletter. Click here to view other newsletters. Not receiving your newsletter, update your address by completing the Change of Address form.