Let’s face it, there are things that we do not want to think about now or ever, but you and I know these things must get done. My friends, let’s move to the top of our “COVID-19 Get It Done” list and tackle job number one: estate planning.
In times like this when all other plans are turned upside down, sideways and every other direction, there are few things you can control. Fortunately, estate planning is one that you can. Here are a few quick tips to help you get started:
Prepare Your Estate Plan
- Get organized. Think about everything you own (or own with your spouse.)
- What are those things and, more importantly, where are they? Start making a list of all that you own: cars, real estate, investments, retirement plans, rental properties, collectibles, and so on.
- Now, where are those things? Collectibles in a safe? Title to your cars in a safe deposit box? Where is that life insurance policy you bought when your children were born?
- Don’t forget about passwords. Is there a password to get to your investment or retirement account? Add that to your spreadsheet.
- What happens? Now that you know what you have and where it is, what do you want to happen to it when you pass away? Think it over and write it down.
- Get some help. I highly recommend consulting an attorney to do estate planning properly. Just like performing surgery on yourself can be disastrous, so can forming your own estate plans. If you do want to find and use free online forms, at least please pay an attorney to review them. Forms off the internet sometimes lack basic, but important legal clauses.
In light of social distancing guidelines, Indiana and all other states have put some new rules in place that allow you to consult with an attorney remotely, so now is a great time to get organized, get your ideas together and get your estate plans done or updated. A good estate plan makes a difficult time go more smoothly; not having a plan only adds to one’s pain. So get it done.
Please note, this information is not to be considered legal advice. In accordance with COVID-19 public health guidelines, all in-person meetings at CICOA are canceled until further notice, including walk-in appointments and the legal clinic. If you need legal services, please contact Indiana Legal Services or call 1-844-243-8570 Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Tom is CICOA’s corporate and planned giving manager. Through planned giving, he helps donors give to an organization they care for deeply. He is passionate about helping people achieve some of their important financial goals. “We can have their assets work better for them now and also better for CICOA in the future,” he says. Prior to joining CICOA, Tom worked for a company based in Nebraska managing capital campaigns. Before that, he worked for the American Cancer Society for 12 years.