At Holiday time, we often see our extended family, and sometimes it’s the only time all year when everybody is gathered. This can present an opportunity to give a gift of peace and understanding to your heirs.
Maybe it’s time you planned your funeral service and reviewed your estate documents to confirm your money and possessions will transfer to the people you care about in the way you prefer.
And yes, it might be a drag to think about this, but if not you, who would you have sort this out? Often, we have specific wishes. So, it’s a kindness to make your wishes known.
Your house of worship may have resources to assist you with some of your plans.
Other times, the local funeral home will have some resources.
In general, I recommend to clients that they consider the following:
The Service. Where would they wish the funeral to be held? Are there specific people they would want to preside? Are there particular songs or readings they would like to have included? Spelling out any wishes you have makes it easier for your survivors when the time comes.
You could even pre-pay funeral expenses, like a burial plot, casket, or mausoleum. This is often a big relief to your family because there are many options and a great deal of potential expense. If you decide and pre-pay, none of your survivors will feel undue pressure.
Your Finances. We always recommend that clients have a financial power of attorney appointed to deal with their finances BEFORE death, and it’s important to have clear instructions for dealing with your finances after death. Most financial accounts give you the option to create “payable on death” or “transfer on death” instructions that move the account to people of your choice after your death. That way somebody can settle your final bills and expenses.
Your Digital Life. These days many of us have a lot of our business transacted online. Be sure you leave clear instructions to those you love where to find passwords and how to access important online resources.
Charitable Intentions. You may have a cause or organization that you wish to support after you are gone. Be sure that your wishes are clear in your will and beneficiary designations. It’s also a good idea to discuss this with your family. You can explain why it’s your wish to make this gift and how it fits in the context of your entire estate plans.
Your Inheritance Details. In some situations, there are significant family assets. Maybe a family cabin, a family business, or just a large IRA. Often, it’s a great kindness to your heirs to meet with them in advance and explain how you wish to have things divided when you are gone. If you explain your wishes you can often avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings among heirs later.
In some cases, your inheritance wishes could have significant tax and other financial implications. If you own a family business or have a family cabin, it’s all the more important to talk with an experienced estate planning attorney to be sure you use the best strategy and instruments to achieve your most important goals.
If you are not sure where to find a couple of great estate planners, give me a call. I would be happy to introduce you to some people I know and trust. Just follow this LINK to find a time for us to visit and I’ll gladly make an introduction.
As you think about preplanning your final wishes, you may find you have questions about how all this fits in your overall financial plan. Maybe you would like to visit with an experienced, highly-trained, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Behavioral Financial Advisor to help better understand your options. I love to meet new people. So, follow this LINK to find a time for us to have a get-acquainted visit.
I am a financial planner who is an advocate for my clients ALL THE TIME – a fiduciary financial planner. I provide guidance based on clients’ best interests, not commissions or sales quotas. I think it’s the best way to serve clients and I am thrilled to work this way all the time.
And yes, I’m still taking on a few great families to be part of my financial planning practice.
Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.