Author Topic: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?  (Read 4307 times)

SnackDog

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Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« on: December 06, 2014, 01:26:18 AM »
Mortality rates in the US are about 70/10,000 so with 15,000 MMM members we could see over 100 of us die in the next year, assuming a representative population (we probably don't have a lot of bluehairs up in here, but still).  Are you ready?  If not, you could leave your heirs with a helluva mess to sort out and most likely a lot of frustration and higher costs (taxes, probate) than if you sort it out for them in advance. 

I love planning, so I'm all over this one.

Legal. We visited a local estate-planning attorney years ago and drew up wills, medical directives, and a living trust for about $500.  Assets which do not have specified beneficiaries built-in are held in the trust.  I am the trustee, spouse is co-trustee.

The Plan. I am working on a detailed Excel spreadsheet which spells out details.  It will live in the cloud (password protected) and my spouse and Dad will get a link they can look at any time.   I'll keep it updated.  Worksheets cover the following -
Strategy - overall view of assets and plan with a focus on what surviving spouse needs to consider.
Assets - a table of all current assets, value, how they are titled, restrictions on liquidation, etc.
Short Term Plan - a checklist of what to do in the first month or two to deal with matters, take control of assets, assure bills are paid, donate clothes, etc.
Long Term Plan - a suggested plan for managing the assets intended for my spouse. Includes some suggested sales (for simplification), how to plan budget, and deal with 401K withdrawal and SS timing.
Paperwork - notes on where key paperwork resides (titles, taxes)
Contacts - name and contact info for all key people:  family, attorneys, property managers, tax, work, close friends, etc.
Memorial - a write-up for distribution and something less formal to put on my Facebook page.
Will - a a brief review of what is in the Will and Medical Directive and where the signed copies are located.

This monster is still under construction but once finished I will have the spouse review and we'll discuss to ensure understanding.

What am I forgetting?

former player

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 01:44:03 AM »
Keeping that lot up to date would be a pain for me, although you may be all right with it.

The biggest thing is a contact list.  I'm expecting my nearest and dearest to go through my address book for people to contact, which is why I put a bit of information in there about professional contacts (I note eg work colleague, plumber) so that whoever is working through the list to tell people doesn't have to do an immediate notification/invitation to the funeral/the sympathy thing on people who don't need it.

If you have a safe in the home, up to date access details need to be kept with your lawyer.

I have no answers for dealing with changing computer passwords and online presence.

Decalin

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2015, 06:01:24 PM »
For passwords I would suggest a password management system (I use a keepass database with the file stored in my dropbox for backup) with the master password stored with your other information for your executor to have. Saves time and trouble updating it, and can give you more secure passwords while you're alive and using them.

Retired To Win

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2015, 06:09:10 AM »
You can simplify a lot and avoid probate on a lot of your assets by making sure that you are JOINT owners of all of your real estate, vehicles, major valuables, bank accounts, and taxable investment accounts.

If you have bank accounts that need to be in just one person's name, make sure such accounts are set up as POD (payable upon death) in favor of the spouse.

Tax-sheltered investment accounts (IRAs, 401Ks, etc) should specify the spouse as beneficiary, which allows a seamless non-taxable takeover of the account (something only legally available for a spouse).  Just CONFIRM with your brokerages that your tax-sheltered accounts are set up that way.

And... have a separate contingency plan to cover the possibility that one of you, instead of dying, becomes unable to make financial decisions and maybe not even be able to sign his/her name to documents.

It's all a bitch, I know, but it needs to be covered.

Le Barbu

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2015, 07:15:54 AM »
Nice plan, the only surprise could be the date!

Most of us are a lot more prepared than average. We are strong (financialy), papers and plans are kept safe, we own few stuff, beater cars paid in full, no CC balance etc.

Becoming Mustachian, you get better to LIVE but at the same time, you are more ready to DIE :/

midweststache

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2015, 07:35:00 AM »
One of my 2015 goals is to get these kind of nuts-and-bolts aspects of my life organized (especially since I'm getting married). Create a legal living will, DNR, etc. One thing I found to help this process (and help my family if I suddenly pass) is the Big Book of Everything, which has a free paper and digital template on the website: http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm. It's a pretty comprehensive list of things to know/look for/locate.

I'm doing a page a day, and should be done by February. Once we're married, my partner and I will get the legal elements of our medical directives worked out.

SnackDog

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2015, 12:26:48 PM »
I got a bad leg cramp while snorkeling yesterday.  That could have ended it I suppose.  Managed to struggle to shallow water and stand up on it.  Phew!  haha.

Happy Little Chipmunk

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Re: Estate Planning - Are You Ready To Die?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2015, 08:04:17 PM »
SnackDog, I'm glad that your adventure ended well! Keep on swimming! ;-)

I really like this site: http://getyourshittogether.org/. Looks like they have a new (to me) feature that nudges you to make progress on your stuff. That could be really helpful for some folks.

Last year was my year to do this as well. It's a great feeling to know that you've got stuff dialed in...just in case it hits the fan.

Prior proper planning...lets you go play!