Thursday, December 13, 2007

Our wills are underway

We met with an estate attorney last night. Very informative meeting. We discussed potential implications of Shafi not yet being a US citizen, tax implications of leaving anything to his family in Bangladesh, various scenarios to be outlined in the will, and whether we need to set up life insurance trusts (for our soon to be purchased life insurance policies).

We didn't have any trouble deciding on things like guardians, trustees, what we wanted to spend the time and money to include in the will, etc. We also decided to do livings wills, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies.

The whole thing is definitely not cheap - but I feel a lot better using a reputable lawyer for it than trying to do it ourselves on a website or something. He brought up great advice that we'll follow - in the event of both of our deaths, the guardian of our child(ren) is not the same person as the trustee for our assets - not that we don't trust our family to make the right decisions - but checks and balances are not a bad thing and 2 heads are better than 1.

And we're including for the provision of a trust that will be divided equally among our children but that they will inherit in thirds at ages 25, 30, and 35. Prior to that it will be up to the trustee what they can have.

We're also including some language around making sure that our child(ren) remain in contact with Shafi's family in Bangladesh. While these pieces are not necessarily enforcable, we feel pretty confident that the guardians / trustees we've selected will want to follow our wishes and will allow money to be spent appropriately to bring Shafi's family over periodically and send our child(ren) to Bangladesh periodically.

We've decided against life insurance trusts for now. Doesn't seem worth the upfront costs considering our assets are small enough to not likely be taxable anyway. But we did get some good advice on how to fill out beneficiary forms for retirement accounts and life insurance policies so as to have things appropriately passed on. And also to get copies of those forms - the actual signed forms, not just a description of them - which the attorney will keep on file with our will and other documents. That way he will have the necessary information to handle everything in the event that either or both of us dies.

I know the whole discussion seems morbid to some, but I think we just see it as practical. We want to make sure that our soon-to-be-born child and any future children are taken care of in the event that we aren't around to do it ourselves.

I'm glad we started this process now - actually earlier might have been better. We're hoping to have a draft of everything by mid-January so that we can make final changes and have it all signed by the time the baby is born - or at least very shortly thereafter.

Wow - I officially feel like a grown-up with all of this going on! ;)

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