Estate Planning Essentials and Information Letter to your Family, Executors and Trustees

Tax, Trusts & Estates Department of Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn

Next steps if your plan is in place

You have taken the time and effort to place your legal and financial affairs in order with current signed Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills.

Have you made it simple for your heirs and fiduciaries to locate your important papers and assets?

Have you made the necessary provisions for your digital assets, for example, your usernames and passwords for online access?

In today’s digital age it is so simple to supply this information.

Many clients provide a copy of their personal information letter to our firm to be held with their documents.  Electronic versions can also be placed in our secure electronic vault.  Others distribute a USB fob which contains all this information.

What if you have not started your planning or your planning needs to be reviewed?

The Covid crisis has changed the way we all look at planning.  The estate planning process can and should be providing relief from the anxieties related to our own mortality.

We recognize that estate planning and end of life decisions can be overwhelming.  We have counseled clients that making these decisions and choices when they are healthy; provides them with the ultimate degree of control. We have witnessed that as clients complete their planning, it eases their mind and reduces the burdensome details for the family when the time comes.

Employers can assist in the process

For our corporate clients, they have utilized our department to offer a companywide casual breakfast or lunch session to offer estate planning information, as part of their employee wellness program.  Employers have read the studies that speaking openly about one’s own mortality makes you a happier person and improves your relationships. Corporate theory suggests if your employees are happier, then you have a more productive employee.  The cost to an employer is minimal.

The essential information that should be included is below:

  • The location of your important documents (legal, tax and financial) and all necessary contact information relating to your estate.
  • Information regarding your funeral/burial plans
  • Detailed personal and account information that is password-protected
  • Digital assets and online accounts – provide each account’s username and password.

Below are a few current websites that may prove useful for your non-legal needs.

Cake is a free service that catalogs users’ end-of-life wishes, instructions and documents.

Lantern, a new company, which calls itself “the single source of guidance for navigating life before and after a death.”

LifeWeb360, which creates multimedia memorial scrapbooks.

Martin J. Dever, Jr. and Jonathan Kukin

Co-Chairs of the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department

Arthur I. Goldberg and Peter J. Bakarich, Jr. – Partners

Doris Brandstatter and Victor Manuel Nazario III – Associates

E mail us to make an appointment or to find out more about the process.

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