“It’s Late in the 4th Quarter and I’m out of Timeouts.”

This is a statement made to me by one of my good friends in Houston when I inquired as to how he was doing. Jim is in his late 70s and has a couple of health issues.

Jim is a very amusing guy and, as usual, I got a laugh out of his response.

I thought about this the other day and applied it to client estate planning. Then I thought, how
many clients are “late in the fourth quarter and out of timeouts”? Are you?

1. Do you know what you need to do to ensure your Estate Plan is up-to-date?

2. Have you confirmed your Successor Trustees, Agents in your Powers of Attorney, Executors in your Will?

3. Do you have a POLST? That is a Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment signed by your primary physician. Do you even know how it is utilized and added to an electronic registry for EMTs and other health providers?

4. Have you completed your Attachment “A” to your Advanced Health Care Directive and filed it with your medical records? Do you know the purpose of the Attachment “A” regarding 12 medical procedures should you lose capacity to give informal consent to medical treatment?

5. Where are all of your passwords located to your digital assets? Can your estate personal representative access such assets on Facebook, Instagram, Online banking, email? Have you given them such authority and has this been arranged?

6. Does your Successor Trustee know where to obtain your documents to provide my office to clear title to real properties; understand retirement plan choices for beneficiaries; make claims for life insurance and annuity proceeds; consider the choices of Inherited IRA distributions to limit or reduce income taxation?

7. What contracts have you arranged for your remains after your death? If none, where are your written directives to this effect and is there a particular fund set aside for this purpose?

8. Do you need to include provisions in your Trust to protect the inheritance for your children from divorce, lawsuits, creditor claims and bankruptcy?

9. Do you need an IRA Trust to protect Inherited IRA funds for your children from being lost in Court proceedings or to creditors?

10. When do you want artificial nutrition or hydration should you become comatose? Do you want Full Treatment, Selective Treatment or Comfort-Focused Treatment? Do you know what each entails?

11. Do you want your Successor Trustee in your Financial DPA to account to some independent 3rd party or outside family member to avoid family conflicts regarding use of your funds? If so, to whom?

12. Do you want care at home should you suffer from a catastrophic illness? Have you indicated this with specific directions in your Advance Health Care Directive?

13. What accounting of your Trust assets is to be required of your Successor Trustee and to whom will it be communicated?

14. What fees have you provided for your Successor Trustee, Executor, Agents in your Powers of Attorney?

15. If a son or daughter will assist in your caretaking at home, how, or will they be remunerated? Do you have a written caretaker contract with them?

16. If there is no family member to care for you at home, have you arranged a plan with a Home Health Care Company? Have you signed a contract and understand the services and costs?

17. Will you be willing to bet $1,000, right now, that you know exactly who your primary and contingent beneficiaries are on your IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, annuities, life insurance, etc.?

18. What about a memorial service? Do you want one? Has this been discussed with family? If so, where and what arrangements?

19. Do you want clergymen/clergywomen present if you are gravely ill–your Priest, Pastor, Rabbi, etc.? Who do you want to see at your bedside and, who do you not want to see, if any? Has this been expressed in writing in your Advance Health Care Directive? Your Heath Care Agent must have this information to enforce it.

20. If you have a potentially terminal disease, have you contacted or made any arrangements with one of the hospice providers in San Diego?

21. Have the appropriate assets been satisfactorily transferred to your Trust to avoid probate? How do you know for sure?

22. Did you intend a specific bequest legacy to grandchildren? Is this a part of your Trust distribution provision?

23. Do your fiduciaries–Successor Trustee, Agents in Powers of Attorney, Executors, etc.–know how to contact our office, The Stephens Law Group, should it be necessary for legal services and direction?

24. Do you know exactly what has to be accomplished in a Trust Administration after your demise? Does your Successor Trustee know? Shouldn’t he or she know?

Do any of these issues or questions strike a chord with you? If so, it is time to address them, especially if “it is late in the 4th quarter” for you. We are scheduling our personal Client-Successor Trustee consultations in which any of these
issues can be discussed with you and your Successor Trustee. The consultation is scheduled for 1½ hours and I will provide advice and information to your Successor Trustee on issues involved in a Trust Administration in addition to discussing any of the issues raised in this newsletter article.

As a client, you are welcome to contact Matthew, our Office Manager, for this consultation. Besides the consultation, I am providing your Successor Trustee with a Checklist for Trustees and a Booklet I wrote on Trust Administrations. The fee for this meeting to our clients is $195.00.

I look forward to meeting with you and your Successor Trustee in this very informative consultation.