There’s a box in my closet that’s very special to me. It’s a jewelry box – but it doesn't hold my everyday jewelry, it holds pieces that have a special meaning to me. A ring my mom gave me that belonged to her mom. Earrings that my daughter would delight in tugging on when she was a toddler. Ouch. Each item has a story. And I think I want those stories passed on.
I open the box, and I think about the past, and I think about the future.
The future. There will be a day when I’m not around, and I want to make sure that my thoughts and wishes for that day – who gets what from my jewelry box, and who gets what from everything else – are heard.
Those thoughts and wishes are held on two shelves in my financial closet. The estate planning shelf. The insurance shelf. It’s time to make sure those shelves are organized just the way I want. You too.
So let’s start Week 3 of Cleaning Your Financial Closet
If you have young kids, what would happen to them if something happened to you? It should be spelled out in your will. A will also sets forth your plans for distributing your property. Trusts may need to be created to add a better path for distributing and managing assets if you are no longer able, or after your passing. Health care and property powers of attorney allow your trusted agent to step in and make decisions for you when needed most.
Are your kids older, over 18? Have them sign a health care power of attorney – you might not be able to speak to the doctor caring for them without one. Trust me on this. Or ask my daughter Isabel.
If you don’t have an estate plan, reach out to an attorney and start the process. It’s worth the time and expense. You are buying peace of mind.
Already have an estate plan? Take a look at it. Maybe your circumstances have changed. Maybe your family looks different. As Stevie Nicks sang, time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I’m getting older too... Are you thinking about a charitable legacy? I am. I have added this to my estate plan. Passing on my values in addition to my valuables.
Call your attorney and ask if it makes sense to review those documents. And while you’re at it, make sure that the titles to your assets and the beneficiaries of your accounts and insurance reflect the estate plan. Please. It’s so important. I’ve seen too many instances where a well thought out estate plan was left on a shelf and not implemented, causing unneeded heartache.
I mentioned insurance, didn’t I? That’s on the shelf in your financial closet right next to the one holding wills and trusts. Time to get on the step stool and take a look as well.
Death or disability are devastating to families. Financial stress should not be added at a most difficult time.
Do you already have policies in place? Take a look at your needs, and see if what made sense a while ago still does. Call a trusted insurance professional to determine how much life, disability and long-term care insurance should be in place. You’ll sleep better at night.
The beauty of this round of cleaning? If you have updated your estate planning and insurance, it stays clean for a long time – maybe even for generations.
Happy cleaning! I’ll be back for Week 4, our last week, real soon.
Questions? Please contact me for additional information, or to schedule a call to learn more about our services.