Based upon my last 1.5 years serving as one of the Power of Attorneys for my parents, I received an invaluable education on dealing with wills and estate planning. I would love to share this real life education with you.
This is not just about being a POA (Power of Attorney). It is about the many other aspects of dealing with an estate, before and after you and or your loved ones’ have passed. These are important lessons to learn, and plan for well in advance. I hope that you find these lessons helpful to navigate these often-choppy waters.
5 Critical Lessons
1. Legal Advice
Always seek professional legal advice from an estate lawyer/professional. There are several necessary documents to ensure the one’s affairs and estate is dealt with properly. These documents include a will, representation agreement (aka living will), Power of Attorney (POA), and Nomination of Committee.
2. Have Clearly Defined Roles
Appoint the right individuals to the Key Roles. It is critical to ensure a smooth process, so choose wisely the individuals that have the personality and skill set to fulfill the roles. Even though it cost the estate money, we as a family appreciated having an estate professional act as the executor of our parents will. It is an emotional time and there are so many estate aspects to navigate through, such as probate, selling the family home, dealing with all the financial aspects, etc. As mentioned above, some of the other key roles to be filled are your POA, Nomination of Committee.
Make your wishes known and document them with as much detail as possible. Sharing and discussing your thoughts with your spouse and children regarding this whole part of life is incredibly helpful in moving forward for everyone. This would include ALL funeral arrangements, bequeathing personal & household effects in pre or post passing, disposing of assets.
4. Have All Essential Documents Organized
Document, gather and place all your important financial and personal information in one These days it is incredibly easy and helpful to amass the information into digital format so that you can provide it to your POA and executor. This list could be quite extensive, but these are just some starters: All personal and business financial bank accounts and credit cards, investment accounts, digital assets such as loyalty and rewards, websites and passwords.
5. Start Planning Right Away
Simplify and Do it NOW. Start removing things NOW that you no longer want or use in your life. Give them away to those that want them, could use them, or can provide value to others. Put yourself in your loved ones’ positions and consider what they need to do once you have passed. Trust me it’s a daunting task.
I could write a small thesis on this, but put simply, whatever you need to do to get your estate in order, start NOW. Because of this experience, I am personally now removing “stuff” that no longer serves me, but could however help someone else. Also, I have developed great connections with various helpful parties for this process. If you are interested, please email me to obtain my connections.
I would be happy to provide you with any or all of these invaluable documents. Click here to request copies.
- What is a life estate?
- Will Planning Questionnaire
- Executor Checklist
- Typical Estate Settlement fees checklist
- How much you should pay an executor- article