Plan For Your Death…So Your Loved Ones Don’t Have To
Death is topic that no one wants to think about. However, the loss of a spouse can be devastating from both an emotional and financial perspective, especially if the deceased spouse was primarily responsible for managing the couple’s finances. The good news is that doing some planning now will ease the burden your grieving loved ones may face down the road. Here are four ways to prepare financially for your death before it’s too late.
1. Have Open Discussions
Regularly discussing finances can be of tremendous value to your loved ones in the event of an unexpected death, so both spouses should be in the loop on their financial picture. These conversations can include understanding what accounts and income sources you have or expressing 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 executor or power of attorney for you. A good way to get everyone on the same page would be 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. 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 insurance policies, retirement plans, etc., are aligned with 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 and/or trustees don’t know what accounts exist or how to access them. Building a balance sheet that shows where all accounts are located will make settling your estate much easier on 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!
In the current digital age, it’s also necessary to make a list of online passwords so your agents can access these as well. Many households use a password manager like LastPass or Apple password vault. Having this information readily available will be invaluable.
4. Have a Team
When a spouse passes away, there are many moving parts, and it’s crucial to have a financial team in place to help your loved ones navigate those tough decisions. Losing a spouse often results in the loss of an income source (pension or Social Security check), and widows are left uncertain about their financial security. At BDF, we help all our clients review their finances regularly, which includes evaluating each partner’s financial independence separately in the event of their untimely death.
Don’t wait until the unexpected happens. Taking care of these steps now will make all the difference to your loved ones when you are gone.
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.