Estate Planning Actions To Take Now
Hey guys, Mike Frontera here back with another Retirement Theory video!
Over the past 20 or so years I have helped many clients and family members deal with picking up the pieces after a loved one passes away. And beyond the immense grief that is felt, an amazing amount of undue stress and money is spent on settling their affairs.
So today I’m going to show you how to make things easy for your loved ones when you pass away. While it may not be a particularly pleasant activity, you will be doing your loved ones an incredible service, which will allow them to focus their energy on celebrating and remembering you.
There are two steps that you’ll need to take to get this done. And by the way, this assumes you already have an updated will or trust, as well as account beneficiaries. I’ll include a link to a previous video with some helpful tips to get that squared away first, if not.
So your first step is to create a file. This file may be called “my affairs” or “important documents” file, or whatever clearly indicates what it is for. You can create this as a physical or as an electronic file. Just be sure that it’s easy to update as things change and that it is accessible when needed.
Now there are a few key items that you need to have in this file. First you’ll want:
- A full list of your accounts, complete with account numbers, approximate values and any named beneficiaries.
- You’ll also want to list out your liabilities, that will include bills and any subscriptions you may have. All of this by the way can be maintained on a piece of paper, or a simple excel spreadsheet, or you could have something more automated like an online system. We use eMoney here, although there are others available.
- You may also wish to add websites for those accounts, possibly even including your social media accounts and the passwords to access them. Now this may be challenging to maintain manually. An online password manager can be helpful here and I can provide some links in the description below for some options there.
- Next, important documents like your will, marriage certificate, deeds, titles, recent tax returns and so forth. Now, if you can’t include these actual documents in the file itself, include a note that provides the location of those documents.
- Next, prepare a list of important contacts, like your estate attorney, your accountant and financial advisor
- Finally, you may wish to include a legacy letter to your loved ones and this can include logistics, your wishes, important instructions.
- But either in the same letter or in a separate letter you may want to include some personal messages and perhaps some things you that wish you could say to your loved ones if you weren’t actually there to say them. This may be a tough task to complete, but it can be very fulfilling to have done and in that file. If you are having trouble sort of finding the words, there is a service called My Lasting Letters who can help you draft this kind of note.
So the only other thing you need to do at this point is simply to communicate to your loved ones that this file exists and where to find it. And with that, you have done an amazing deed for those who you leave behind.
So, do you have questions for me? Come visit me at www.retirementtheory.com or send me an email at email@example.com. Did you click subscribe on this video or follow me on Facebook? I think that you should. You’ll continue to see videos like these on everything retirement planning. Once again, thank you for joining me, we’ll see you next time.