When you design and implement your estate plan with the assistance of your estate planning attorney, you want your plan to work. An estate plan works if it does what you think it will do. Here are 4 simple ways to help your trustee so your estate plan works.
You may take it for granted that your named trustee is willing to take on the responsibility of serving as your trustee. Your assumption may be incorrect.
Simply, let those you’d like to name as trustee and successor trustees know that you are engaging in the estate planning process and ask if they’d be willing to serve as trustee should you become disabled and when you die.
Introduce your trustee to your estate planning attorney, CPA, and financial advisor so that when the time comes for your trustee to act, he is already comfortable with your professional team.
Take advantage of any trustee training or estate planning informational sessions that your estate planning attorney provides. Attend with your trustee.
Some estate planning attorneys also offer a family meeting to discuss estate planning in general, your plan specifically, and trustee duties.
4. Provide necessary information
Let your trustee know where you have stored your estate planning documents and other essential information.
Common places for document storage are a shelf or desk drawer in your home office, the bottom drawer of your refrigerator, a fire safe (if the combination is available to your trustee), or in your trustee’s home office.
Be sure to include:
- Your estate planning documents
- Your most recent investment account and bank statements
- An up-to-date asset list
- Contact information for your professional team
- Contact information for family members and friends to be contacted in the event of your death.
- A complete list of user IDs and passwords for all online and telephone accounts
- Love letters to your family
- Funeral instructions
- Important certificates such as insurance policies; car titles; deeds; marriage, divorce, death, and adoptions certificates
If you have questions about naming a trustee or about helping your trustee, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.