7 Estate Tips for You This Fall

Now that school is back in session and Labor Day is over, it’s time for us all to get back into our routines which we abandoned in the heat of the summer.  Here are 7 tips that I want you to add to your routine this fall and winter.

  1. Make sure you and your spouse have a Will/Trust/legal documents.  Better than 50% of us don’t have one, leaving our heirs to fight and “guess” our wishes and intentions.  Dissolving an estate is not the time for guesswork
  2. Make sure someone knows the location of these legal and other important papers, such as life insurance, financial information, as well as computer passwords and keys to safe deposit box.
  3. Simplify your estate by starting to get rid of your own stuff now.  Clean out the garage, attic, and closets — we have too much stuff!  By doing this now, your kids won’t be angry with you later for leaving them a big mess.  We  only use the same 20% of what we have anyway … Reduce!
  4. If something new comes into the house, two things have to exit, whether it be for charity, selling it, etc.  Avoid the clutter that comes from constant buying.  Think “simple and easy.”
  5. Have that courageous conversation with your spouse or children (if they are old enough).  Tell them your wishes for the future, then go the distance and document all this so they have a guidance system when the time comes.
  6. Consider gifting heirlooms and other important items while you are still living.  This minimizes future fighting, and you have the joy of seeing the recipient’s face when they receive their gift.
  7. Always hire a personal property appraiser for items of value in your own home or your loved one’s estate.  Only then can equitable distribution take place.

Next week, I’ll give you 6 tips for your parents’ estates.

© 2010 Julie Hall

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