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Shockingly Few Of Us Follow Through On Estate Planning

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 5:03 PM
We’re nearly unanimous on the issue of estate planning in the event of the death of a loved one. BMO Management, a Chicago-based wealth management firm, reports that 90% of U.S. adults say estate planning “as an important topic to discuss.”

So why, in the same survey, do only 19% of adults say there have been detailed discussions on estate planning needs with their parents?

Shockingly Few of Us Follow Through on Estate Planning | Home | Get the best rates on mortgage, home equity loans, CD, money markets and checking accounts | BankingMyWay
ShorebreakShorebreak2,683 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 14,545
1. Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 5:57 PM
This discussion topic is a thorn in my side.  It may not be the parents who don't want to do estate planning but trying to get your loved ones to discuss it with you can be like chewing nails.  I found a solution to the problem.  Get as much legal info you can get from many sources, do what YOU thing is best.  Have all documents prepared and put it all in a ledger folder with the name/names of the person/persons it is for.  Let them know where to find the information and then know you have done all you can possibly do to take care of the issue.  When they laughingly say, "What makes you think I am going to read all that stuff?" you say "Too bad, once I am gone, you either read it or waste a lot of money paying someone else to read it to you!"  Estate planning sounds like such an easy thing to do when it is advised but putting it into action with the cooperation of those who are involved can be very stressful.
paoli2paoli21,401 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,135
2. Friday, August 2, 2013 - 7:30 AM
If we care about our children and heirs we will take care of this paperwork. Why would we leave a mess for our loved ones to sort through? I have made copies of all bank, credit union, stock and life insurance beneficiary papers and numbered them and given them each a copy. Have a frank talk with your children not only about monetary issues but of health issues. Get your POA and healthcare advocate papers filled out and have things done exactly how you want them to be done. You have the control to get things done YOUR way.  Give a copy of your end of life papers to your health advocate, your doctor and the local hospitals. Hospitals have these papers and they have several questions to answer on what you want done in many different situations. It is your choice. Don't let others make your decisions. Never ever put anyone on your bank accounts except your spouse. Only have beneficiaries and a POA to pay bills and do what ever you want them to do. Name the situations that this paper will take affect. 

Children don't have to know amounts but have to know where to go. Get a Lady Bird Deed on your home. (an enhanced life estate) Makes things so much easier and you can avoid probate in many situations. It is like having beneficiaries on your home just like you do with a bank account.  You can change beneficiaries, sell, borrow etc on your home just like a bank account but when you die it avoids probate and a trust. A death certificate is all that is needed to transfer ownership just like with a bank account. The basis is the date of death just like with stock. 
Ally6770Ally6770937 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,727
3. Friday, August 2, 2013 - 8:26 AM

One more thing; in addition to having all the accounts and insurance policy information. If you were to die or become incapacitated, it is important to have a copy of all your computer log in access information. Id’s, passwords and security questions. My parents had a trust created and pretty much all their accounts identified but when my father (who took care most of the paperwork) went into a nursing home, I needed to have access to their accounts and I live about 500 miles away. My parents are before the computer age and many of the accounts were not even set up so I had to create online access. They told us about the trust but never really spoke to us about their finances.  Since they did not volunteer the information if I could do it over again I would have asked to sit down with them and review their finances.

One other thing I would mention is to include your credit card information with your other documents in case you have some reward programs.  Once I got into my parents situation I noticed all the points they accumulated on a couple cards. When I questioned them they said they did not know how it worked or how to redeem. I was able to set these accounts up online and have since redeemed over $500 that they had built up and continue to earn on a couple cards.

FARFAR108 posts since
Feb 26, 2013
Rep Points: 386
4. Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:45 AM
It is kind of hard to give sign on information for all accounts because many places require you to change log in information quite frequently. My POA lives 3 miles away and has paper copies of acct information. With the POA that says he can open and close accts he would be able to sign in quite easily. Michigan has a very involved POA form that states everything that can and cannot be done under penalty of the law and prison time. 
Ally6770Ally6770937 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,727
5. Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:53 AM
Forgot to say he knows where my cheat sheet is for my acct login.s
Ally6770Ally6770937 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,727