Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Time for Spring Cleaning

By Susan Graham
When I was in high school every spring the mother of my best friend would change the living room curtains and furniture covers from dark winter colors to bright summer fabrics.  At the same time she would spend a week doing a thorough cleaning.  When she was done her house looked like it should be in “House Beautiful.”
How does this relate to your estate plan?  It’s time for a little “Spring Cleaning” for your planning documents.  Just take a few minutes to check your affairs and see if they are up to date before you are too busy with fun and family activities.
Here is a simple checklist:
•  Where are your planning documents?  Do the people you expect to back you up know where to find them?
•  Are the people you identified on your financial and health power of attorney still appropriate?  Do they know they have this job and do they know where to find the papers that authorize their status?
•  If you have a Trust, have you titled your assets in the Trust name?
•  If you have assets with beneficiary designations such as retirement accounts, IRAs, life insurance and annuities, have you named the appropriate people or your Trust as the beneficiary of those assets? 
•  Have you written your list of who gets your “stuff” (ring, lamp and gun) when you are gone?
•  Have you filled out your “Bucket List” of the wonderful things you wanted to do between now and when you die?
Now is a perfect time to do “Spring Cleaning” in this corner of your life.  It should take you less than half an hour.  I promise you will be pleased with yourself once you have completed this checklist.


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