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It’s a New Year, and it’s time to get things organized. If your estate plan is complete, go through this checklist for some follow up steps to consider. If your estate plan is not complete, make it a goal for the New Year.
□ Review your existing plan. Do you remember who you named as your Trustee? Do you remember who your beneficiaries are? If not, take a look back at your Trust as soon as possible.
□ Provide a copy of your Will or Trust and Power of Attorney to the Trustee/Executor/Power of Attorney agent you named within. If they cannot locate a copy, it will be hard for them to act for you.
□ Provide a copy of your estate plan to your trusted professional advisors. Often your attorney, financial advisor, and accountant prefer to keep a full file of your documents in order to best assist you or to assist your successor Trustees.
□ Provide a copy of your Advance Health Care Directive to the agents you named within, and to your physicians.
□ Check to see whether or not you have funded your assets to your Trust. If you are not sure what to fund to your Trust, contact your attorney.
□ Organize your personal information for your Trustee/Health Care Agents/Guardians of your children. Does your Trustee know what assets they will manage for you? Do your health care agents know your medicines or your preferred physicians? Do your guardians know where your children attend school or who their pediatrician is? Do you have documentation of who to contact in case of emergency? Think of any information which can help someone help you, and have it available for them when needed. Your attorney may have a suggested format for doing this.
□ Document any personal memorial wishes you have. Instruction to a family regarding burial or cremation is very helpful during a difficult time.
Please contact your estate planning attorney for a review of your estate plan, or with questions on how to approach the above suggestions.
Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC. She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego. She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.