The law offices of Hoy Sahlas LLC

FAQs After You’ve Set Up an Estate Plan

Q.Where should I store my original estate planning documents?
A. In a safe, secure, fire-proof, place such as a safety deposit box or a fire-proof safe in your home.  All papers should be stored together. 

Q. To whom should I give copies of my estate plan?
A. Copies of your living will and Power of Attorney for Healthcare should be provided to your health care providers.  Also, anyone you named as first or successor Executor, Trustee, or Agent with Power of Attorney should be given a copy of the documents in which they are named.  Tell all of them the location where you have stored the originals.

Q. What should I do if I want to amend or change my documents? 
A.Do not write on the original documents. Changes you make yourself on the documents will not be considered valid and if done on the will, could serve to cancel the entire will.  Instead, contact us for a Free Estate Plan Update Consultation. (630) 575-0400.
Q.Should I tell someone about the location of my safety deposit box or fire-proof safe? 
A.Yes, you should tell whomever you have named as agent or successor agent with Power of Attorney for Property, and whomever you have named as Trustee/Successor Trustee of your Trust (if applicable), and Executor/Successor Executor of your will.
Q. When I pass away, how will my loved ones know what I own and where to find it?  
A. You should create a list of your assets.  Give us a copy since we will need this to assist you with transferring your assets into the name of your living trust, if your have one.  
List the following information: 
the date you created the list
each asset’s name
the type of asset it is (investment portfolio, artwork, life insurance policy, real estate, vehicle, bank account, etc.), 
the asset’s approximate value
how the asset is titled (in your name alone, jointly, or in your trust?)
the contact person and company (asset holder), their address, & phone number
your account number or policy number
whether you have named any beneficiary and who the beneficiaries are.  
When you pass away, your Executor or Trustee (as applicable) will be responsible for collecting all asset information and distributing those assets. Make it easy for them by creating a list and keeping it in the same location as your estate planning documents. 

Q. If I have a living trust, should I update your office about new and old assets? 
A. Yes, you should periodically provide us with an updated list of assets as needed.  New assets should be titled in the name of the Trust or have the Trust named as a beneficiary where appropriate.  In some cases, it may be beneficial to update your estate plan if your assets have significantly changed.  Call us for a Free Estate Planning Update Consultation (630) 575-0400.

Q. When I pass away, how will my loved ones close out my email accounts, online subscriptions, accounts and social media profiles?
A. For login information to important accounts, it’s best not to store your logins in an online document.  Instead, export your logins from password managers like Keepass, LastPass, or 1Password to a CSV file and then encrypt it so it can be shared securely.  Create a list of your email accounts, online subscriptions, accounts and social media profiles and provide all your correlating password information. For example: email accounts (username and password), cloud programs, news or online subscriptions, Amazon account, facebook, linkedin, pinterest, instagram, pandora or online music account, etc.  Give it to your Agent and Successor Agents with Power of Attorney for Property, as well as the named Executor/Successor Executor of you Will and Successor Trustee of your Trust (if applicable). For more information, check out this article:   Be sure to update your list as necessary.

Q.Should I talk to my loved ones about my wishes for end of life issues/ life support?  
A.Yes, you should discuss this with your agent and successor agents for Power of Attorney for Healthcare.  Many people find this uncomfortable but your loved ones will be greatly helped if they are ever in a situation where they need to medically speak on your behalf.  For example, what are your specific wishes for life support?  There are many kinds of life support, such as ventilators, kidney dialysis, feeding tubes, etc.  When an agent with power of attorney for healthcare is in the difficult situation of making life and death decisions for their loved one, they often have very little time to process the decision and they are emotionally vulnerable and compromised.  Often, family members who have to make end of life decisions or difficult medical treatment decisions on behalf of their loved one can carry a lot of guilt about that decision.  You can prevent this by telling your loved ones up front what your wishes are so that it is your decision they carry out, and not their own.