Saturday, April 2, 2011

Guidelines For a Successful Execution

Want your Will to be followed to the letter so that everything unfolds as you had envisioned after your (no doubt) untimely demise?  Here are some things your Executor will appreciate:
1. Hold all assets jointly with your significant other, if at all possible.
2. Make sure the beneficiaries of assets not jointly held, like insurance products, are correctly designated.
3. Update a list of your financial accounts yearly and give it to your Executor.
4. If you designate a lawyer as your Executor, negotiate the percentage part of the fee in advance.
5. If your Executor is not a lawyer, make sure they know the tasks and responsibility they are taking on.
6. Make sure your Executor knows who your lawyer and accountant are.
7. Go over the terms of your Will with your significant other, as a minimum, and preferably also with your Executor, to make sure your wishes are clear and there are no extraneous clauses therein.
9. Don't keep the only copy of your Will in your safety deposit box.  Your Executor can't access the SD box until they can prove they're the Executor - which they can't do without the Will.  The original should always be at your lawyer's office, as your Executor will need several notarized copies to do his/her job properly.
10. Make sure there is at least a small insurance policy or investment with your Estate named as the beneficiary to cover funeral costs (or even better, pre-plan and pre-pay your funeral), accounting bills, executor expenses and taxes at death.
Everything on the list checked off?  Okay, you're ready to go.