Valentine’s Day is in the air and we have a challenge for you – Tell your family you love them, without spending any money! How? By doing the six things listed below! Our latest educational video on this topic is now uploaded on our YouTube Channel and linked above for your convenience.
1. Talk to your loved ones about your wishes, goals and plans. While ‘just talking’ will likely not be enforceable in a court of law, so ideally you have an estate plan in place, your family will appreciate the opportunity to ask questions, to learn more and to be able follow your wishes.
2. Get organized! Have a safe plan for your loved ones to easily find out what assets you have and how to access them if you become unable to manage your affairs or when you die. It is very time consuming, expensive, and sometimes impossible to locate financial accounts when there is very little to no information available.
- Safety deposit box? Will your loved ones be able to find and access it?
- IRAs/401K/life insurance/stock from previous and current employers? Have a stack of statements in a safe place.
- Long-term insurance? How will your family use it if they don’t know about it?
- Timeshares, mineral interests, land…Do the people in charge know what to do about them – sell, keep in the family, lease?
- Estate planning documents? Great! Where are they, and who can access the originals? Do the people listed in the various roles have some guidance and know to do?
3. Verify that you have listed beneficiaries on ALL your accounts – primary and alternate! Not having beneficiaries listed, may send your family through probate! Sometimes it only takes a few minutes to check, do not wait!
4. Talk about medical decisions and care plans, especially if you feel very strongly about a procedure, treatment or course of action. For your peace of mind and your loved one’s wellbeing, talk to them about what to do in various situations that may arise. Have an Advance Directive (Living Will) in place. Click here for more information and to download one for free, curtesy of Integris Health!
5. Consider giving stuff away now, if you know you will not use it anymore, you won’t change your mind about the recipient and you will never sell it. Think family heirloom, special jewelry, various collections… You may be surprised to hear that an intended beneficiary does not want the item, but that someone else would very much appreciate it. You declutter, they enjoy it, no fighting over it later – win win!
6. A delicate topic, but of upmost importance – what will happen to your body when you die? Do you want to be cremated, buried, donated to science… Ideally, you prepay and preplan so there will be no questions as to your wishes, but for now, at least make your wishes known. Don’t know where to start? Ask me, I have the most caring person for you!
Conclusion: There are many ways you can tell your family you love them. If putting your choices and wishes in writing and making them legally enforceable through Estate Planning is not an option at this time, please consider addressing some (or all) of the topics discussed above. There are a number of effective planning tools that can help prevent conflict and keep your loved ones out of courts. Let’s talk about them!