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Will your heirs be able to understand your estate plan?

Estate planning is not a one-time event; the best plans require periodic revisions to include newly acquired assets, changes to a family's structure and improvements in asset protection. As such, an estate plan becomes something of a living entity and will shift and grow over time. If those changes are not properly organized, the end result can be a hodgepodge of planning tools and changes that Pennsylvania heirs will have to disentangle when the time comes to set those plans into motion.

Organization is an aspect of estate planning that receives very little attention. However, without having a system in place to keep estate planning documents in order, it is entirely possible that portions of the plan will never be carried out. It is important to review and maintain the organizational side of an estate plan every time changes are made.

Organization begins with a simple list of all assets and liabilities. Details should be given for each asset, including account numbers, login information and location. Be sure to include less obvious assets, such as storage units, safe deposit boxes and older investment or savings accounts. Having this list will help the individual(s) handling estate administration feel certain that they are not missing any accumulated assets.

Liabilities are also important, as the estate administrator will be tasked with settling debts and closing certain accounts. Here again, full account information should be included, such as account numbers, online login details and payment schedules. Having this information on hand will make it easier to settle all accounts and move forward with the distribution of remaining assets.

By creating a system of organization, Pennsylvania residents can make the weeks and months following a loss easier for loved ones to manage. Keeping good records and making periodic reviews can help ensure that the estate planning efforts made will lead to the desired results. It can also make a challenging time easier for one's heirs.  

Source: valdostatoday.com, "Will You Leave Your Spouse or Kids a Mess or a Method?", Bob Lambert, Sept. 28, 2015

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Larmore Scarlett LLP

Larmore Scarlett, LLP
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