What a year we've had so far. As we approach the end of the year, it's time to decide to do things differently than we've done in the past. While we have our health and mental abilities, it's important to protect and provide for our loved ones. We owe it to ourselves and our families to plan for the difficult times in life. Here are three things we can do now to get started.
- Get organized. Before we can chart a clear path to the end and beyond, we need to know where we're beginning. Take an inventory of your assets and liabilities. Document the various types of assets you own, their account numbers, their values, where they're located, and verify all beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, annuities, and retirement accounts. List all lien holders with account numbers, up-to-date balances, and contact information. It's important that all of your statements and other important paperwork are organized and assembled in one place and you let your family know where they can find them. Also let them know how they can get access to your safe deposit box and keep a record of all your login and password information to access online accounts, email, Facebook, etc.
- Make a plan. The purpose of Estate Planning is to give you the tools to manage your affairs if you ever are unable to. Get educated on the various tools available to you to create the best plan possible to protect and provide for yourself and your loved ones. Utilizing such tools as the Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, Personal Care Plan (Living Will), and if you have kids, designating Guardians (Child Care Plan), allows you to plan and prepare for the effective management of your financial affairs, protect your quality of life in the event of disability or incapacity, and arrange for the final disposition of your assets after death. You may also consider making your final arrangements, and pre-paying your funeral expenses, so your family won't have to.
- Leave your legacy. Lastly, take a moment to assess your values, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and future goals. The things that are important to you will inform your decision making and are critical to designing a plan that is unique to you and addresses the specific needs of your family. Consider passing on more than just your money and assets when your gone; write down or record some of the most impactful moments of your life. Passing on these treasures is part of your legacy for the next generation.
If you are interested in getting organized and creating a plan, call me today to schedule your free Virtual Estate Planning Session.