Dec 12, 2022
Plan for your death – For the sake of loved ones
Death is a topic that no one wants to think about. However, if you fail to plan for the inevitable, you could end up forcing your loved ones to deal with a difficult situation down the road. This is especially true if you are primarily responsible for managing the family finances. The good news is that doing some planning now might help ease the burden for your loved ones. Consider these four ways to prepare before it’s too late.
1. Have open discussions
Open and honest discussions about finances can be of tremendous value to your loved ones in the event of an unexpected death. Both spouses should be in the loop when it comes their finances. These conversations can include practical matters, such as which accounts you own and what sources of income you have, as well as your personal desires, such as your end-of-life wishes.
It may also be beneficial to share your plans with adult children – especially if they will have a role as your executor or power of attorney. A good way to get everyone on the same page is to have a family meeting. Family meetings can be used to explain your estate and financial plan so there are no surprises at your death.
2. Review estate planning
It’s crucial to ensure your estate planning documents are in good order. This includes having a will and power of attorneys for healthcare and property. In our view, a will is essential if you have minor children as you’ll want to designate a guardian for them. Also, ensure that all major assets are titled appropriately and that beneficiary designations on valuable things like insurance policies and retirement plans are aligned with your wishes and your overall estate planning objectives.
3. Get organized
It is one thing to have your estate planning done, but it is not much help if your executor or trustees don’t know where your accounts and other assets are located or how to access them. Building a balance sheet that shows where all accounts are located might make settling your estate much easier for your loved ones. Be sure to organize all other important financial documents, such as investment accounts and life insurance policies in a safe and secure location. Unclaimed assets become the property of the state – you don’t want this to happen to you and your family!
In the digital age, it’s also necessary to make a list of all passwords so your agents can access your online accounts. Having this information readily available is invaluable.
4. Have a team
When a spouse passes away, there are many moving parts, and it may be crucial to have a financial team in place to help your loved ones navigate the tough decisions. Losing a spouse often results in the loss of an income source such as a private pension or Social Security check, and widows can often be left uncertain about their financial security. Your wealth advisor is a team member who can evaluate each partner’s financial independence separately in the event of an untimely death and help put plans in place to deal effectively with future changes.
Don’t wait until the unexpected happens. Taking care of these steps now can make all the difference to your loved ones.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim enjoys educating clients on comprehensive financial planning and strategies so they can live their full life. She is able to get a deep understanding of what is important to a client and address their concerns with care and compassion. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a bachelor's degree in Personal Finance. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional.
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