3 Estate Planning Questions You Should Ask
Estate planning isn’t exactly fun, but it’s absolutely necessary. Just like you’re planning for retirement, you need to plan for the inevitable.There are a few important questions many of us don’t think about. They’re the often overlooked issues of estate planning that could make all the difference for your relatives and heirs after you pass. When you’re putting a plan in place to help protect your loved ones, be sure to ask yourself the following estate planning questions:
1. How well does my spouse know our financial advisor?
If you’re the one in charge of dealing with your family’s finances, it’s possible your spouse hasn’t even met your financial advisor. Or, they may have met for five minutes to catch some signatures early on in the client-advisor relationship. Consequently, if you’re the first one to pass away, your spouse would be reliant on someone they barely know during an extremely difficult time. Since your financial advisor is likely involved with everything from your brokerage account investments to life insurance to individual retirement accounts – and possibly more – this is someone your spouse should get to know.
2. Does my spouse know where all our accounts are located and how to access them?
The surviving spouse will need to access money immediately to cover funeral expenses. There may also be hospital bills, and, of course, all of the normal expenses that come with everyday life. Your spouse won’t have time to search high and low trying to figure out where the accounts are located or how they can access money. If you can’t answer “yes” to this question, you need to make sure your loved ones know where to find this information so as to avoid unnecessary confusion later.
3. Are our wills and beneficiary designations up-to-date?
It’s possible this question reminded you of some changes you haven’t yet had a chance to make. Those adjustments aside, life events such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces and job changes could mean you’ll need to update your will and account beneficiaries.
When it comes to passing wealth, don’t assume your will is enough. Plenty of assets might not be covered by your will.
You might not like thinking about it, but there’s no way around it. Our mortality might be out of our control, but you can take charge of the situation by putting a plan in place to help protect your loved ones.
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