Two Easy Goals to Complete Before January 2016
By Philip Olson, CFP
OK, OK, I know the last thing you want to think about during your winter break is “estate planning.” It feels overwhelming and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be!
My challenge to you is this—show your loved ones how much you care about them by completing these two simple goals by the end of the year. It won’t take much time at all, and you’ll be giving a precious gift to those you care about should something happen to you in the future.
UPDATE BENEFICIARY INFORMATION:
This can be as simple as one or two phone calls, but most of us never get around to doing it. Reach out to your 401(k) administrator, as well as any IRA, Annuity, or Life Insurance policies in your name. Make sure that your spouse or children are listed as primary beneficiaries instead of your mom and dad (from when you first filled out the application). Nothing can cause a huge headache for your loved ones like having old beneficiary information. And the good news is that it’s so easy and painless to fix! [Note from CHA: And you still have to do this even if you have a will because these assets pass outside of the probate process.]
LEGACY DRAWER or ACCOUNT:
What is the game plan should you be in an auto accident or suffer a sudden medical emergency? I recommend to all my clients that they have a “Legacy Drawer” or “Legacy Account.” This should contain critical account numbers, passwords, and locations of important items should something unexpected happen to you. The last thing you want is for your partner or children to be unable to take care of important items because they are locked out!
A simple conversation should be sufficient—show your family where your critical accounts and passwords are located. Even better, write a short note on how they should proceed if you are to become incapacitated or pass away unexpectedly. That way they’ll know exactly how to proceed and be able to act quickly and efficiently in the face of a crisis or sudden loss.