Estate Planning practices are busier than ever. Clients are very concerned whether their estate plans are up to date and in order. Often clients have been meaning to make changes and do not get around to it. Something as frightening as a pandemic makes us stop and think about the important things in life—like making sure our loved ones are cared for in the event of an unlikely circumstance. Here are some suggestions of what you might consider at this time.
- Review your Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust – do they accurately reflect your wishes if you were to die tomorrow? These are the things you want to think about:
- Will your executor or successor trustee be able to serve?
- Is the named executor or successor trustee still the best person to help?
- Is the named guardian of your minor children still the best person to step in?
- Do you have the correctly named beneficiaries on your IRA, 401K and Life Insurance Policies? Are they still living?
- Is the beneficiary responsible? Should they receive their bequest outright or in a trust?
- Under North Carolina law, your spouse does not get everything if you die with parents or children surviving. Make sure that your intent is carried out!
- Do you want to protect your heirs’ inheritance from ex-spouses?
- Trust Funding: If you have a Revocable Living Trust, are your assets transferred to your trust? Subject to some exceptions, most of your assets should be titled in your trust in order to avoid probate upon your death.
- Do you have an updated Durable Power of Attorney? North Carolina enacted a new law regarding Durable Powers of Attorney two years ago and it is best if yours meets the requirements of the new law.
- Is your Advanced Directive, also called a Living Will, up to date? This is where you express whether you want artificial life support to keep you alive if you are being kept alive on a ventilator or a feeding tube.
- Do you have a properly executed Health Care Power of Attorney that sets out your desires and directives for burial versus cremation, donation of organs and other important matters? It also names the person or persons who can make important decisions for you if you are unable. These include authorizing surgery, talking to doctors, picking a nursing home or a rehab center, applying for benefit programs for you and more.
The estate attorneys at Law Firm Carolinas in Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington or the Triangle can assist you to make sure your estate plan is up to date.