WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2015
1. Last Will and Testament (or Revocable Living Trust)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which you designate one or more
2. Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) and Health Care Power of Attorney
persons to manage your estate and provides for the transfer of your property at
death. (You can get samples from the Library or from www.uslegalforms.
com/dave.) A living trust is an estate planning tool designed to avoid probate while
providing long-term property management. The term "revocable" means that you
may revoke or terminate the living trust at any time. A "living" document allows you
to continually edit and update it while you are alive.
DPA is a document that allows you to give authority to another person to make
financial/legal decisions and financial transactions on your behalf. It is called
“durable” when, by its terms, it remains effective even if you become mentally
incompetent. A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that appoints
someone else to make decisions regarding your medical care. (These are not
complicated and can be obtained from www.uslegalforms.com/dave.)
3. Living Will
Generally, a living will describes which treatments you do or do not want applied to
you in the event you either suffer from a terminal illness or are in a permanent
vegetative state. A living will does not become effective unless you are incapacitated;
until then you'll be able to say what treatments you do or don't want. (Free – get it
4. Video of Home and Contents
On video record and speak of items’ values and when purchased. This is needed in
the event of a fire, tornado, breaking and entering, etc. If no video, photograph
each room, closet and storage area of your home and prepare a detailed written list
of household and personal items along with copies of receipts (if possible). In the
event of fire or theft, you cannot be too specific. (Store video, photos and/or lists
away from premises.)
5. Checking, Savings, Certificates of Deposit, Stock Accounts, etc.
should be set up with Right of Survivorship. If two or more people own property
jointly with rights of survivorship and one of the owners should die, the deceased
owner's share of the property automatically passes to the surviving owner(s).
6. Life Insurance Policy Riders, Clauses and Provisions
a. Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
Many companies allow you to add an “Accelerated Death Benefit Rider,” even
b. Short-term Survivorship/Common Disaster Clause
after being diagnosed terminally ill. Simply stated, if you are diagnosed
terminally ill, some companies will advance you part of the death benefit while
you are alive. Some companies will even “pay” a portion of the death benefit if
you are admitted to a nursing home and are not able to perform two or more
of the activities of daily living (bathing, feeding, dressing, moving about,
toileting (getting on and off the commode, etc.) or continence. Of course, any
amount “advanced” will reduce the benefit payable upon death.
States that the beneficiary must outlive the insured for a certain number of
c. Spendthrift Provision
days before the insurance is payable. Common Disaster must be from the
same accident in order to apply.
Protects beneficiary who is known for being unable to handle money well. It is
d. Contingent and Tertiary Beneficiary(ies)
designed to prevent them from spending their money too quickly on
unimportant items and then having nothing left to live on. It also prevents the
creditors of a beneficiary from claiming any of the benefits before the
beneficiary actually receives the money. The purpose of this clause is to keep
those to whom he/she is in debt from taking legal action to require the insurer
to pay the proceeds directly to them.
A tertiary beneficiary is only entitled to proceeds if the primary and secondary
(contingent) beneficiaries are no longer living.
7. Leave Directions to Loved Ones:
a. Where assets are located, such as retirement plans, Social Security,
investments, name of insurance company(ies) for life insurance along with
policy number(s), etc.
b. Bills that need to be paid and when they are due.
c. Name of Life, Health, Disability, Long-term Care Insurance Companies, etc.,
giving policy numbers and contacts. Also include contact information for
insurance agency or agent who can assist in filing claims.
In the event the life insurance company has been, or is being, bought out by
d. Funeral arrangements, i.e. cremation, etc. Provide funeral/burial details and
another company, and the only information you have is the company name on
the original policy, you can get the company name of its new ownership and
contact information from the Department of Insurance by calling 1-800-546-
e. Names, addresses and/or telephone numbers of individuals who should be
notified upon your death.
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