WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU WANT YOUR WISHES ADHERED TO, BUT DON’T WANT TO PAY AN ATTORNEY FOR A TRUST?
Updated: May 4
Here is a short to-do list that can be taken care of before forking over all your money to an attorney. That said, in the long run you'll want an attorney to draw up a trust for you, but here's what you can do on your own in the mean time…
Step 1. MAKE A LIST OF PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
Write down a list of all account you possess including bank accounts, investment accounts, old 401ks, IRAs, HSAs, etc. Anything and everything, make a list of account numbers and company names so in the event of your death your loved ones can find your belongings.
Step 2. MAKE YOUR WISHES KNOWN
First start with medical, write down all your wishes and make sure whoever you want taking care of you has a copy. Follow that up by assigning that person to be your medical POA. These forms can be found online and for AZ here is a link below…
Next move onto regular belongings, where do you want your kayak to go? Who gets your record collection? Who do you want to take care of your shoe box full of old concert ticket stubs? Make this a fully handwritten and signed letter. We’ve been told that holds up better in court than those free will forms off the internet. Note that anything not placed into a trust will go to probate after death anyways, even with a professional will drawn up by an attorney. That's why you want a trust in the long run.
Please use this link for the AZ POA paperwork on the financial side of things…
Step 3. UPDATE YOUR BENEFICIARIES
This is the most important step in making sure your assets go to who you want them to. Why is this so important? Beneficiary designations held by the company holding your assets supersedes anything you have written in a trust. For example, lets say you had a spouse 10 years ago and a 401k with your employer where you made your, then spouse, the beneficiary. Fast forward 10 years, you’re remarried and setting up a trust with your current spouse and you place the 401k in belongings that will go to your new spouse after your passing. Once the trust is finalized and after you pass away, who gets your 401k money? Your ex-spouse does because they were listed as beneficiary with the company holding your 401k. Don’t let your ex-spouse get your money, update your beneficiaries!
Not only can you add beneficiaries to your investments, but you can add them to your regular bank accounts as well. Next time you visit your local branch ask for a TOD or POD form which means transfer on death or payable on death. You can add a beneficiary to your vehicles too, if you hold the title. Below is the link to do that in AZ…
In closing your best bet to make sure all your wishes are fulfilled in the event of incapacitation or after death, is to have a trust drawn up by attorney. These are just helpful steps to get you by in the meantime.
Here is a video to all the material we just covered here too... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgIXlMLTQg&t