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Annual Estate Plan Review Checklist for Illinois Resdents

Hopefully you go to the doctor for a yearly physical. Getting a good checkup gives you a feeling of contentment
knowing you are doing all you can do to keep yourself healthy. Have you considered a yearly estate planning checkup? Going through your documents and reassessing your decisions will give you peace of mind knowing you’ve done all you can do to keep your family secure if something happens to you.An annual review doesn’t mean you have to read the legal documents front-to-back. Just go through the most important elements to make sure you would make the same decisions today. Here’s a checklist that will walk you through the process:
  • Major life changes

Have you had any life changes since you last updated your estate plan? Have you gotten married? Have you had a child? Have you recently moved from another state? All of these life changes may impact you estate planning which require your will or trust to be updated.

  • Consider your executor and/or trustee designations
Is the person you selected to be executor the person you would select today? If circumstances have changed and you now question whether this person is responsible and trustworthy you should consider updating your will or trust. Also, if you named one person, you may want to choose co-trustees who would work together. You may also want to set up additional levels in case your first choice of trustee is unable to execute.
  • Grandma’s wedding ring
Is there a particular family heirloom or other item or property that you want to go to a specific person? You might now want to update your will or trust to make sure that happens.
  • Financial power of attorney
Your financial power of attorney will act for you in a wide array of financial and business matters. It is essential that you think about the person you named and make sure that you still consider them the best choice for you.
  • Your health
Review your health care power of attorney to make sure that the person (or people) you named is someone you still trust to make major medical decisions for you. If your health care power of attorney lives in another city or state, you might want to consider naming someone local in case of an emergency.
  • Life insurance and retirement funds
While technically not a part of your estate plan, be sure to assess the choices you made as beneficiaries of your life insurance and retirement plans. Many people forget to update these after a divorce and you certainly don’t want your ex-spouse to inherit those funds.
This checklist should take you quickly through some of the most important parts of your estate plan here in Roselle, IL. If you need to update them, don’t delay. Procrastination is not your friend when it comes to estate planning!

Schaumburg Trust Attorney: Tips When Storing Valuables and Documents in Safe Deposit Boxes

Storing Valuables in a Safe Deposit Box

Close-up portrait of a happy senior couple at home

As you work with a trust attorney in Schaumburg, you will likely end up making a list of your assets. Some of these are tangible, such as property and heirloom jewelry. Others are not so obvious and could include important documents related to marital status or military service. Each of these items is an important part of the plan you put together with your estate planning lawyer, and each needs to be kept secure and in a place where you can find it.

Oftentimes, a safe deposit box at your bank is the perfect place to keep these kinds of assets. Obviously, you can’t keep a home or a piece of property in a metal container at your financial institution, but the related deeds and titles can definitely be safeguarded in a safe deposit box. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, death certificates, and military records are just some of the documents that should be safeguarded. However, you may find that you need access to them more often than is convenient to get them from your safe deposit box. A good trust attorney in Schaumburg should be able to guide you when it comes to which documents need to be kept at home and/or which ones may only require a copy at home while you keep the originals in your safe deposit box.

Who Can Access Your Safe Deposit Box?

One of the main reasons to rent and use a safe deposit box is because access to the contents is very limited. Other reasons include the fact that valuables are much less likely to be stolen or destroyed in a home invasion, fire, or natural disaster. It is possible to allow others access to your safe deposit box, and there are times when it can be a good idea. For example, the person you and your estate planning lawyer designate as the executor of your estate may be better able to do his or her job with access. Keep in mind, though, that the act of making them an executor of the estate can be enough to allow them access, although they will need the correct documentation and possibly a copy of your death certificate.

Additionally, someone you’ve given financial power of attorney may also be granted access in order to manage your affairs should you become incapacitated. In order to do this, you will need to follow the procedure laid out by your bank, which usually includes appearing in person with the other party so everyone can show identification and the new person can sign a signature card. This does mean that this person can access the safe deposit box any time, whether you are present or not, so there is some potential risk. Take care to thoroughly discuss the pros and cons with your trust attorney in Schaumburg before giving authority to access your safety deposit box to others.