1. Get your act together.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can give you. Please take a minute to reflect and truly understand the level of stress and grief your family members will experience upon your passing. I can tell you through experience they will be overwhelmed.
So get organized and help your loved ones out. Keep all your important papers, usernames and passwords with your estate planning documents and let your family know where you keep them.
2. File the Original Copy of Your Will
To begin a probate proceeding, your family will need to produce the original copy of your will. Make sure your family knows where to find your original will. We are fortunate in Nebraska because we can file the original will with the county probate court at any time.
Typically I file the original will with the county probate court at the time of signing and then just keep a copy of the will along with the receipt from the court
with the other estate planning documents. This way I eliminate any issues with trying to locate the original.
3. Coordinate Your Non-Probate Assets with Your Will
Make sure you understand which assets you own are probate assets
and which assets will pass outside of probate and how that will impact your estate plan.
Also, pay close attention to the beneficiary designations on all life insurance policies and retirement plans including the contingent beneficiary designation
to make sure they support the goal of your estate plan.
4. Make it more than just about the money.
Your estate plan presents an opportunity to make one last impression with your family. Leave specific sentimental gifts and personal notes and letters to your loved ones.
5. Review your estate plan at least every 3 to 5 years.
Circumstances change over time. You should review your estate plan at least every three to five years. Tax laws and the size of your estate continue to change along with the circumstances of your beneficiaries. Estate planning options that once had no appeal can become of great interest over time.
If have any questions or need to take action and put an estate plan in place, give my office a call to set up a convenient time to meet and discuss your situation.
Finally, if you would like to get a better idea of what you can expect on your initial consultation, check out the video on the right side of the screen titled “Preparing an Estate Plan: The Initial Consultation” or, if you would like to gather more information, check out the other estate planning topics on the right side of the screen.