We hope you enjoyed the webinar
Below, you will find the promised guide to the 5 tools to help you prepare your estate plan from home.
Remember that the term "beneficiary designations" is just a blanket term for contracts that you sign with the financial institutions which hold your investments. These contracts can be called many different things, but are typically referred to as one of the top three: (1) beneficiary designations (2) Transfer on death designation (TOD) OR (3) Payable on death designation. Contact your advisor or a representative from a bank to discuss what you need to do to set up these beneficiary designations. If you have an online login portal, you may be able to find everything you need there. Remember that these documents will only pass property to the indicated beneficiaries if you pass away. It will not protect you if you become incapacitated. Also, if the beneficiaries that you indicated on the designation pass away before you or simultaneously, the property may still end up in probate court (as we discussed on the webinar).
Coordinate your assets
There are three steps to coordinating your assets:
Consolidate: remember that as hard as it may be for you to gather all of your assets from the various banks and investment advisors that you have, it will be so much harder for your loved ones to do so when you die or become incapacitated.
Document: When you have gathered all of your assets into a few accounts, it is time to start documenting what accounts you do have. This is easiest done by keeping a folder or a binder where you contain one statement from each account. It is tempting for some to make a spreadsheet, but these are much more difficult to keep up to date and often do not contain as much valuable information as does a statement.
Review: rinse and repeat. If you live life like most of us, you will need to look at your portfolio every so often so that you can determine whether you need to consolidate or document your accounts. Trust me, your loved ones will sing your organizational praises when you are gone.
Create a Health Care Directive
Remember that many of us, statistically 40%, will experience some period of long term incapacity. We need to create a health care directive that will allow our loved ones to make the medical decisions that we require at this time. Below is a button that you can click to find a fillable version of this document.
Create a Power of Attorney
Again, if we are incapacitated, someone will need to take care of our finances for us. A power of attorney will allow someone of your choosing to take on this role for you. I have provided a button below that you can click to find fillable version of this document. Remember to initial in all the correct spots or it will not be valid.
Create a Holographic Will in CA
To write a holographic will as a California resident, the following steps should be taken:
1. Use a completely blank sheet of paper (no letterhead, no logo, nothing on it)
2. Write the entire will in your own handwriting
3. State your name and that you are of sound mind and not under any duress to write a will
4. State the county in which you reside
5. State that it is your last will and that it supersedes all prior wills
6. State who you are married to, if you are married, and if not, so state
7. State the names of your children, if any, and if none, so state. If you have children and they are minors, list those people in an order of priority who will be guardians
8. List those people in an order of priority who will be executors
9. State that bond is waived for any executor (and guardian – if you have children) who serves
10. State who is going to inherit what property, for example, “I leave my spouse all of my interest in any property whether real or personal, including but not limited to our home on _________, Drive, my nut company on __________, Drive, my real estate on ____________ Drive, all of my cash and investments, and all the rest of my property wherever located. If my spouse does not survive me, I leave all of my interest in said property in equal shares to my children.”
11. State who else gets something by mentioning their name(s) and what they get. Add that if either the person named is not living at the time of your death or if the property is no longer a part of your estate, then the gift to that person lapses.
12. If applicable, state your intent to disinherit anyone who contests the will. For instance: “Except as otherwise provided in this Will, I have with full knowledge omitted to provide for my children and heirs, or any others who might feel entitled to some portion of my estate. I have carefully considered the needs and abilities of my family and after such consideration have disposed of my estate in the manner provided in this Will. Should any beneficiary named in this Will, or the parent of any beneficiary named in this Will, or any person claiming through a beneficiary named in this Will, or any person claiming to be an heir, directly, indirectly, singly or in conjunction with other persons, attack this Will, or contest any of its provisions, or contest any trust established by me, or seek to impair or invalidate any part or provision of my estate plan, or conspire or cooperate with anyone attempting to do any of the aforesaid, such person’s interest (or if such person has no interest, but his or her child has an interest in my estate or any trust established by me, then such child’s interest) in my estate is revoked and shall be forfeit and distributed as if such person (or the child of such person) had predeceased me and any generation-skipping transfer taxes caused by reason of such forfeiture shall be charged to and paid from such property without the benefit of the use of any of generation-skipping transfer tax exemption.”
13. Sign and date the document without any witnesses or a notary. Do not let anyone else sign as a witness and do not have the will notarized
Remember that if you have any real property (anything attached to dirt) or you have a minor or several minors that will receive gifts from your estate, these documents may not be sufficient for your needs. Further, since I have not analyzed your specific situation the information I have provided for you here and in the webinar cannot be legal advice. If you would like to get legal advice on your specific information, I have provided a link below that you can click to fill out your information. After filling in that information, we will email you a link where you can set a video consult with the attorney that can last up to two hours.