Sweat the Small Stuff, It Really Matters. Yeah they sold a lot of books with this theory, but the small stuff is really important. You should sweat it. All us Type A's love to sweat them. Here's a bunch of commonly overlooked things you should worry about.
■ Be sure you have copies of current signed beneficiary designations forms. Too often with bank mergers they disappear into the merger abyss. Read them. If you want a pre-deceased child's issue (your grandchildren) to receive that child's share the document has to provide for this. Many standard forms just don't.
■ Be sure that you've changed beneficiary designations on insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. post divorce. Don't forget policies provided by work, the safe deposit box, and other small items.
■ Are your estate planning documents up to date for new children or grandchildren? While most well written documents address these changes (e.g., my children shall include any children born after the date of this will") don't assume it. Dannielynn's mom, Anna Nicole Smith, didn't get it right in her will.
■ Update insurance policies for current values and assets. When is the last time you had your jewelry and art tallied and appraised? You could be dramatically under-insured and not have key items listed.
■ What's the maximum liability protection you have? If your estate has doubled in size, and your coverage hasn't been updated since your mother-in-law last visited, your entire estate could be jeopardized by a car accident.
■ Clean up old trusts and UGMAs. Trusts often have ending dates. Children attain the age of majority. Leaving assets in trusts and custodial accounts past their ending date is at best pointless, and at worse it could create problems. Terminate and wind up trusts, UGMAs and other accounts that have ended.
■ Update your will for charitable pledges you've signed to avoid disputes and confusion later.
■ If executors and other fiduciaries have died, or reached a stage where it is impractical for them to serve, update your documents removing them to avoid complications.
■ Sign an independent document authorizing access to private health information (HIPAA release) so that loved ones can monitor your care even if they don't need to activate a more complex living will or health proxy.
■ Have adult kids sign powers and living wills.
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