April is financial Literacy month. It is a good time to review all of your finances. While doing that it is also a good time to review your Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, will, trust if you have one and titling of how you own things,
Important things to review this month.
- Your Power of Attorney – Does the person you named know that you named them? Did you name an alternate? Have you made a list of assets and their location? Do you want to limit any of their powers?
- Your Health Care Directive – Have you reviewed what you originally said? Is that still what you want? Have you had a discussion with and authorized someone to make decisions if you can’t? Did you name an alternate?
- Your Will – Does it still distribute your assets, as you want it to today? Does the named executor know you named them? Did you name an alternate?
- Trusts – Have you ever discussed with an attorney whether a trust would be appropriate for your situation?
- Ownerships – Make sure you understand what each ownership means.
• Real Estate
• Bank accounts
• Safety deposit box
• Investment accounts
• Life Insurance
• Mineral Rights
Frequent mistakes include: putting an adult child’s name as joint owner on bank accounts so they can help pay bills. At your death all the remaining money goes to that child. If you meant it to be split between all your kids, don’t put it in joint name, create a Power of Attorney. The same is true for a safety deposit box, all the contents will go to a joint owner at your death. Talk to an attorney if you are unsure how to title accounts and property. All of these items have ownerships that should be reviewed.
- Beneficiaries – review the beneficiaries on accounts as well as wills and trusts. Are they still the way you want them? Here are some accounts and documents where beneficiaries are possible and should be reviewed.
• Life Insurance
• Retirement Accounts
• Some Investment accounts
Whether you have a small amount of assets or a large amount, it is worth going through this exercise to ensure that what you do have passes according to your plan.