I covered the main ways of diagnosing your financial health in this past post. I’ve been using Wednesdays to go further in depth on each point since I truly believe that financial health leads to less stress and happier lives.
I have already covered the first six points – Spend Less Than You Earn, start an Emergency Fund, review Retirement Savings, evaluate Debt, Diversify your investments, and have enough Insurance. The seventh point is to make sure you have an estate plan in place.
When you are looking to start an estate plan, you first need to answer these questions:
1. What assets do I have and what are they worth?
2. Who should receive those assets?
3. Who should manage those assets if I can’t?
4. Who can take care of the kids?
5. Who should make decisions on my behalf if I can’t?
6. How do I want my remains handled?
When you know the answers to those questions, you can successfully make a will, a power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. Most people seem to recommend consulting an estate lawyer to get the documentation completed and notarized.
During this process, I’d also get together all the official papers in one place. Your remaining family will appreciate being able to easily find account numbers, insurance policies, and other emergency information.
In my marriage, I handle most of the day-to-day finances. I know the account numbers and where the life insurance policies are. I know the passwords and which bills need to be paid and when. I also know where all the money is and how we like to move it around. My husband and I have not had the official paperwork done yet, but I do have an “Emergency Pack” together that will hopefully never be needed. But, if I die first, my husband will at least have access to all our accounts.
Do you have an estate plan in place already? How about an emergency pack?