- Estate planning, introduction
- Estate planning, brief overview
- Last will and testament
- Contract of succession (aka contract to will) and inheritance renunciation contracts
- Business succession plan
- Funeral directive
- Organizational arrangements: leave everything orderly
- Estate administration, probate services, partition
- Inheritance litigation and inheritance dispute
- Revision of inheritance law, part 1
ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: LEAVE EVERYTHING ORDERLY
Avoid Scavenger or Treasure Hunts
Contracts are to be terminated, only which ones have you concluded? A tax inventory is to be prepared, only which assets are to be declared? Every uncertainty that you eliminate today relieves your relatives and friends.
You will become party to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of contracts during your lifetime – some as mundane as your cellular contract, others as complex as the purchase or sale of a business. Many of your contracts are personal and will terminate when you die, but counterparties need to be notified. Other contracts will or should continue, but will require notice of changed circumstances, modification and assignment, e.g., your mortgage. A well-organized Testator maintains a running list of vital “to dos,” so that your executor and business partners can pick up the pieces after you are gone. I can help you get started.
In addition, an estate is responsible for debts you incurred during your lifetime – your mortgage, car loan, student debt, credit card balance, ongoing bills of the estate, such as utilities, and outstanding or pending judgments. These liabilities must be settled before your executor can distribute assets to your heirs. Maintaining a file of these liabilities, including receipts and contact information, can expedite administration of your estate, reduce cost, and ensure that your heirs are paid swiftly.
The same holds for taxes. Your spouse or executor must file your final tax return. You can lessen the cost and burden of that undertaking by keeping an up-to-date list of valuable assets, their whereabouts, and the means (physical or otherwise) for gaining access. Executorship too often dissembles into treasure hunting – a challenge made easier with a map.
Depository, Storage Place
Your heirs will be consumed by grief when you die. Their ability to concentrate and assist your executor with “treasure hunting” activities may be weak. It will help survivors immensely if you leave your affairs in order. Keys and documents should be findable. Important contracts and tax returns should be filed and clearly labeled. Your digital footprint should be summarized, and your assets and liabilities itemized.
I would be happy to assist you in organizing and safeguarding this information. Your heirs and executor will thank you.