The death of a spouse, family member or close friend brings a deep sadness as the complications of grieving begin. At such a difficult time when you are experiencing the emotional, mental and physical lethargy that comes with such an experience of loss, there is the added strain of having to be mentally centered to make, what seems to be, endless decisions such as: Notification of family and friends, taking care of funeral arrangements, scheduling religious visitation, making arrangements for out-of-town guests, ordering death certificates, and handling immediate financial issues.
This is the second of two blogs (yesterday and today) on this important topic. I hope you find it helpful.
As we age, many of us will find that dealing with financial issues because more of a challenge than once they were. If we’ve planning properly, we’ve named fiduciaries that can step into our shoes and handle routine bill paying as well as investment planning. Examine the wisdom of setting up a joint checking account with fiduciary. At your death this account will provide them with funds that may be required to pay for funeral expenses, travel for family members, paying for people to help with immediate needs, and bills that come due while waiting for accounts to be released and settlements to be completed.
Set up a secure filing system. This needs to be easily accessible and should contain important documents like birth certificates, Social Security numbers, military discharge papers, marriage license (or a copy of your divorce decree if applicable). You should also provide the location of the safe-deposit box keys, a list of benefits from your current or past employer (such as a benefits brochure), the contact info for your estate planning attorney, CPA, financial adviser, and insurance agent.
Think through what would happen to your investment portfolio if your spouse, child or significant other isn't able to keep up with the activity or isn't knowledgeable to interview and hire a good person to get into the portfolio accounts due to the absence of passwords.
Don’t allow your estate to be drained because it’s not getting proper attention. Be prepared and consider carefully who will handle this for you. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can coordinate this essential planning.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference: MarketWatch (November 3, 2014) “9 steps to getting your estate plan in order”