Lesson One: Your Estate Planning Scorecard

Rate Your Estate Plan Here is a quick way to rate the effectiveness of your current estate plan. Add up your score and rate yourself on the plans you have made for disposing of your estate and protecting your beneficiaries´ security.

1. Will/Living Trust. Score ten points if you have a will or living trust. Persons who have revocable living trusts still need wills (to dispose of assets not placed in trust and to name executors or guardians). Add five points if you have stored your will or trust document in a fire-safe place and notified responsible people of the location. Add five points if you review your will or trust every year to ensure it remains up to date.

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2. Life Insurance. Do you have enough protection for your beneficiaries? Does your life insurance still serve its original purpose? Score five points if you have reviewed your life insurance coverage in the last year.

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3. Health Care Decisions. Give yourself five points if you have a living will or health care power of attorney (arrangements for making health care decisions if you are incapacitated).

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4. Disability. Add five points if you have established a trust or general durable power of attorney that allows others to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

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5. Special Beneficiaries. Subtract five points if you have not established trusts or other arrangements to provide for beneficiaries (if any) who need special care.

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6. Business Interests. Subtract five points if you have not arranged for an orderly transfer of business interests (if any) at death, including payment of “death taxes.”

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7. Net Worth. Add five points if you can estimate, within $20,000, your current net worth. If your estate is over $5,250,000, subtract five points if you have not made plans for minimizing federal estate tax.

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8. Worthwhile Causes. Give yourself two bonus points if you have arranged through your will, trust or life insurance to continue your support for worthwhile causes and institutions after death.

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Total Score: 35–42, excellent; 30–34, good; 25–29, fair; less than 25 (or if you had to subtract points), see an estate planning adviser at an early opportunity and be sure to complete all five lessons of the Estate Planning Study Course!

Total Score:
 

 

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