Is your will ready for a vacation?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

By Linda Shands and Boy Scouts of America,

Greater St. Louis Area Council,

member of Leave A Legacy of the Heartland

Planning a vacation is exciting. Experiencing it is even more exciting. Before you leave there are important things to remember -- stop the newspaper, arrange for yard care, turn the hot water heater to its vacation setting, adjust the blinds, set up the security lighting and alarm systems, be sure the car is ready, pack the right clothes and so on.

And there is one more thing you should not forget: Is your will/living trust ready for a vacation?

Here is a list of 10 important questions. The answers will let you know if you're really ready for that time away from home.

1. I have a will or living trust.

2. My immediate survivors know where to find my will/living trust.

3. My executor and alternate executors are still capable and qualified to serve.

4. My guardian and alternate guardians for minor children are still capable and qualified to serve.

5. My executor knows all of the essential details or how to find the information necessary to settle my estate.

6. My attorney has recently reviewed my will or trust to ensure its compliance with the most recent tax legislation.

7. My survivors' financial needs have been reviewed and appropriate steps have been taken to meet them.

8. My minor children's financial benefits will be provided for in a trust.

9. My survivors have been briefed regarding key people they could consult in decision-making situations.

10. After family needs have been met, I have made specific charitable wishes and bequests known.

You be the judge -- is your will or trust ready for a vacation?

Appropriate attention to these 10 issues today can help avoid stress, heartache and unnecessary expense should you have an unexpected accident or illness while you're on vacation. In fact, giving your will this 10-point check-up is an excellent annual practice -- even if your vacation doesn't involve travel this year.

Legislation, the health and personal situation of those impacted by your will, not to mention the changing condition of your personal finances, are all dynamic realities. The will you created 24 months ago may be sadly out of date.

Remember to contact your favorite charities to help in identifying ways to honor loved ones through a bequest and to provide the language with which you can designate charitable bequests.

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