We don’t like to talk about death and dying. I understand that. Really, I get it. But, it’s important to plan for what happens to your assets after you die. Your family needs the security that only your planning can give them.
The National Association of Estate Planners estimates that more than 120 million Americans do not have an up to date estate plan. There’s no legitimate reason for not having a plan in place. Here are four tips for you to consider as you think about your own estate planning.
1. It’s all about planning ahead.
You have to plan before you get seriously ill or become disabled. So, before either of those things happen, you need:
a. A durable power of attorney to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you
b. A medical power of attorney to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you
c. A living will to state your preferences with regards to end of life options
2. Draft a will
If you don’t plan where your assets go at your death, the state has a plan for you. But, you won’t like that plan. So, get a will and specify how you want to distribute your assets at your death.
3. Update beneficiary designations.
You should regularly review your beneficiary designations and updated them as needed. A good rule of thumb is to review your beneficiaries when you experience a major life change, like getting married, having children, children graduating from college, children getting married, having grandchildren, etc.
4. Don’t forget about your digital estate.
You have accumulated digital assets over the years. Most people don’t think about those things. So, plan ahead and keep an inventory of your digital estate. Make sure your family knows about your accounts and has access to the passwords when the time comes to use them. And, leave instructions for how you want your heirs to handle your social media accounts.