As we zoom through life we live for today, without much thought for tomorrow. We take care of what is in front of us. Yes, we know that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Yes, accidents and heart attacks happen, but to others not us. We never know when our time is up. As my husband tells me, the question is not “if” I die, it is “when” I die. Therefore, instead of ignoring the possibility that your number will be called, I ask you to consider taking a few steps to protect your loved ones.
Here’s some items to consider….
- Who will take care of your children? If you have young children, name a guardian or possible guardians in your will.
- Do you have financial means or life insurance to provide for those you leave behind? Based on the most recent data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income two-child, married-couple family. Middle-income, married-couple parents of a child born in 2015 may expect to spend $233,610) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child through age 17. This does not include the cost of a college education.
- What will happen to your business, if something happens to you? It is your legal responsibility to make sure the work you have been contracted to do will get done. If you have shareholders, do you have an agreement that will provide a financial value for your investment? Is the agreement up to date? If you are the sole owner, do you have arrangements with someone knowledgeable in your business to step in and buy the business, prepare it for sale or close it and complete the legal and tax obligations?
- Do have your critical and essential websites and passwords documented?
Next, organize your records. Include items such as:
- A copy of your will
- A copy of your trust document.
- A list of your personal assets.
- Life insurance policy and beneficiary statement
- List of advisors and beneficiaries, family to contact.
- List of where you want your personal belongings to go.
- Letters to those you love.
- Personal preferences on your burial
- A health power of attorney
It does not matter if you keep them in your safety deposit box, home fireproof safe, in the cloud, under your bed, etc. The most important element is to tell someone where your documents are.
Now with all the information in one place, you can evaluate how complete it is. You can work on a plan of action to maximize your financial resources, minimize death taxes, avoid probate, and most of all – maintain control over your life and protect your family.
If you need assistance in redesigning or understanding what your statements are telling you please give us a call to meet with Mary to review your current situation and see how we can make your financial statements more meaningful.
Mary Guldan-Lindstrom, CPA