Perhaps you have seen “HANDLE WITH CARE” stenciled on the outside of a container or crate. If you’re like me you may have tried to child-proof a room or dealt with the consequences of placing an item in harms’ way. As we get older we accumulate more stuff and take on more responsibility for securing things of value. Let me suggest three basic questions to ask when safeguarding what you value:
1. WHAT ARE MY PRIORITIES?
Really think about what you value and how you want to use it. It may be a collection or collectible. It may be the education of loved ones or gifting to my favorite school. It may be travel, digging water wells, helping to eradicate hunger or disease. For many of us it is having enough to keep from being a burden to our children. Note that priorities change over the years and that your plan should change with them. WHO DO I TRUST?
What family members or friends do I trust to execute my plan? Who does the right thing without supervision, when no one is looking? What is the experience level of the professionals that I retain to draft my plan? Is my plan flexible? Am I being upsold based on concerns that don’t really apply to me? Look at the track record of those you need to trust for advice and counsel before you execute your plan.
2. WHERE DID I PUT THAT?
I tell people that the difference between an original document and a copy is like the difference between you and a picture of you. Misplacing documents can be anything from inconvenient to disastrous. For example; a parent has carefully planned to place assets into a testamentary trust for a child who struggles with addiction or will be disqualified from receiving assistance if they receive an inheritance in a lump sum. Upon their death the will cannot be found and a copy is produced. In order to probate the will not produced in court and execute the parent’s wishes it will be necessary to get the consent of all the heirs. The very child that was so carefully planned for either cannot or will not consent and the entire plan fails.
What are your priorities? Who do you trust? How are you safeguarding your important documents?
If you need good advice and wise counsel we look forward to being someone you trust to do just that.
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