Estate Planning Issues for Women

Estate Planning Issues for Women

(and other helpful business hints) 

By M. Keywood Deese, Vision Bank, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine

Women, especially mothers, are usually the family member in charge of making sure everyone else takes care of themselves and does what they are supposed to do.

What legal documents should women have to help ensure that their family’s medical and business issues are taken care of before an emergency or illness occurs?

Make sure you and other adult family members have these documents:

  1. A signed Durable Power of Attorney naming an Attorney-in-Fact to make business or health related decisions in case of temporary incapacitation from an illness or accident.
  2. Make sure all the women (and men) in the family have executed a Living Will—now usually called an Advanced Health Care Directive—to deal with the removal of life support or feeding tubes in case of an injury causing brain death.
  3. A Nomination of a Guardian for all minor children. In the case of grandchildren, make sure the parents of your grandchild have designated a Guardian for that child in case of their untimely deaths. The Nomination of a Guardian is included in a will or in a separate document.

Keep a three-ring binder at home with sections dedicated to informing your family of the following:

  1. Where your original will or trust documents are located
  2. Where the lock box keys are kept
  3. What insurance policies are owned (health, life, auto and homeowners) and have copies of those polices, phone numbers, etc., in the binder
  4. Have an up-to-date list of assets (like bank accounts, brokerage accounts, annuities and real estate descriptions, oil and gas royalties)
  5. Have copies of all of your important cards including health insurance, credit cards, debit cards and driver’s license. This is important if they are lost or need to be cancelled (make copies of the back of the cards too!)
  6. Keep copies of your Durable Power of Attorney and your DNR (Do-Not-Resuscitate Order) in this binder at home. Keep originals in a safe deposit box!
  7. Funeral instructions
  8. All contact information for your attorney and CPA

M. Keywood Deese is Senior Vice President & Trust Officer at Vision Bank, N.A. of Ada, Oklahoma.