Saturday, October 13, 2012
In ode to Estate Planning Awareness Week, which occurs this upcoming week from October 15 to October 22, let's review the top six things that person might want to consider doing before he or she passes away.
- A person might want to take some time out of each day to enjoy his or her life. In other words, a person might want to live each day like it is his or her last.
- A person might want to make a "bucket list" to determine what that person wants to do before he or she dies.
- In terms of estate planning documents, a person might want to consider talking to a lawyer about signing a health care proxy even if that person is young. In fact, most young people who have just turned 18-years-old might want to strongly consider signing the document to ensure that the person they want is able to make health care decisions on his or her behalf. This also applies to a durable power of attorney.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is a good idea for every person to have will or a revocable trust, even if the estate is not that large. If a person dies without one of these documents, then that person's property will be distributed based upon the intestacy laws of the state where the person lived. A person might have no problems with this system, or they might completely disagree with the distribution system. Even if that person has no problem with the system, a person might still want a will to distribute his or her property to someone else who might need their property. For example, the intestacy laws might want to give all of a person's property to his son. Now a person might not have any problems with this, but he might want to give his car to his mother instead. A person would need a will to do this. There are other reasons why a person might want to draft a will. For example, if the person has minor children then that person might want to consider using a will to appoint a guardian.
- A person might also want to consider reviewing and possibly updating his or her beneficiary designation forms.
- While I believe that this could be an annex of the first principle, it probably deserves its own spot. A person should always tell their friends and family how much they care about them. A person should do this before they cannot do it anymore.
See Deborah Jacobs, Six Things To Do Before You Die, Forbes, Oct. 12, 2012.