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Dianne Williams Wildt, MBA

Certified Retirement Counselor®

Since 1983 in the financial services and investment industry

 

Retirement Pathways, Inc.

4500 Bowling Blvd., Suite 100

Louisville, KY 40207

 

Phone:  502-797-1258

 

Email: dianne@retirementpathways.com

Website: www.retirementpathways.com

March/April 2023

Estate Planning: Beyond the Documents

Estate Planning Beyond the Documents

Your will is a basic estate planning document that specifies how you want your assets distributed when you die and names a guardian for any minor children. Additional essential documents most people should have include: a financial power of attorney, which gives someone the ability to make financial decisions for you, and a health care proxy, which designates another person to make health care decisions on your behalf, when you are not able to do so yourself.


Your Personal Representative
You will have to name a personal representative (formerly called executor) in your will to carry out your final wishes. The person you choose will be responsible for cataloging assets, paying final bills, settling debts, overseeing your financial and investment accounts, and distributing property. Settling an estate can be complex and time consuming, so you want to be sure the person you name is willing and able to undertake this task.


Making a Choice
What are some things you should consider when naming a personal representative? Think about whether the person you want to name will have the time to devote to settling your affairs. Someone with a young family or a demanding work schedule may not be a good choice. And, if cataloging items in your home and arranging for their disposal or distribution would be necessary, you might want to select someone who lives close to you.

Avoid Arbitrary Choices
Choosing your personal representative based on arbitrary factors, such as the age or gender of one of your children, may not be a wise decision. Consider more than birth order if you plan to appoint a child. While you can name multiple children to serve as co-representatives, doing so can lead to disagreements and delays in settling your estate.


Naming an Institution
If you don’t have family members or friends who are experienced enough in financial matters to undertake the tasks of a personal representative, you might consider naming an institution as representative, or as co-representative with a loved one. However, most institutions charge a hefty fee for this service and may not accept the position unless your estate is fairly large.

An estate planning attorney can help you explore all your options


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Investment advisory services offered through American Capital Management, Inc., a State Registered Investment Advisor. Retirement Pathways, Inc. is independent of American Capital Management, Inc.
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