If indeed our only guarantees in life are death and taxes, being prepared for both is a wise choice.
While death is not a favorite dinnertime conversation, it’s crucial to set aside time to talk with those you have designated to manage your estate when you’re gone. Managing someone’s estate can be a huge undertaking, which can be especially challenging in times of loss and mourning. Someday, your executors or trustees will be glad that you (and they) were prepared.
Heidi Eglash offers important tips to promote success in your estate’s administration.
- Prepare and maintain a comprehensive estate plan
- Choose the right agents and professional advisors for the responsibilities you’ll be assigning, and maintain good relationships over time
- Keep organized and accessible records
- Educate yourself on estate planning and administration topics, and encourage those you’ve chosen to carry out your plan to do the same
Most important to the process, says Eglash, is to communicate. “Make your best effort to talk openly about why you’ve set up your plan the way you have, and make sure entrusted agents and loved ones who will benefit from your estate are informed. Ideally, the people you’ve chosen to carry out your wishes should not be surprised during the process of fulfilling the obligations you’ve delegated to them.”
Make sure your estate’s agents know exactly where and how you keep records. Discuss the details of your will or trust while you are in good health and able to clearly communicate. Be sure to talk about your values, priorities and specific goals, so that your agents will have a sense of how to exercise the powers you are giving them in your estate planning documents. The bottom line is that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so it’s best to thoroughly prepare today.
Information provided by Heidi Eglash, estate planning attorney at Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC. For more information on estate planning, call her at 608-784-5678.