A Resolution You Can KeepTake these six steps for a fresh estate plan:
- Update your estate plan. Through a new will or revocable living trust—or a codicil or amendment modifying your old documents—you can address changes in your life and leave a legacy for the future.
Changes That Trigger an Update
- Your family. With births, deaths, marriages or divorces, you may want to add or remove beneficiaries or increase or decrease their shares of your estate.
- Your property. Events such as growth (or decline) in the value of your estate, the acquisition of a new home, or the sale or gift of property may necessitate changes to bequest provisions.
- Your new location. Your estate plan should be updated if you move to a new state. Different requirements for the execution of a will or trust as well as different state inheritance taxes and probate laws may make revisions necessary. Contact an estate planning attorney in your new state.
- Your charitable interests. Will your good works continue after your lifetime? Consider including a bequest to Gustavus Adolphus College by designating a percentage of your estate for our use.
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- Review your choice of executor. Recognizing the intricacies of estate settlement, you may want to consider a professional fiduciary for the role as co-executor to serve with your individual executor. A professional fiduciary is an individual or institution that acts as a representative for the assets of others. A fiduciary's experience in saving taxes and prudently managing investments can be invaluable.
- Look over the beneficiary designations of your life insurance, retirement plans and IRAs. These should be coordinated with your overall estate plan to make sure your entire estate is left the way you intend. If you want to remember Gustavus Adolphus College in your plans, retirement assets are the most highly taxed assets to leave to your family, making them excellent charitable gifts to support our mission.
- Create a durable power of attorney. This authorizes someone you choose—perhaps your spouse or another trusted family member—to handle your financial affairs during your lifetime when you are unable to do so.
- Execute a power of attorney for health care (part of the Advanced Health Care Directives). This empowers someone you choose to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself.
- Sign a living will (part of the Advanced Health Care Directives). This tells people what life-sustaining medical treatment you want to receive, if any, if you become terminally ill and can no longer communicate your own decisions.