With the End in Mind | A Roadmap
Life is hard and thinking about our death might be harder. According to AARP, 64% of Americans between the ages of 37 and 52 do not have a will or trust. That number decreases to 42% for ages 53-71, and down to 19% for 72 and above.• Even if you have a will or trust in place, it is a good idea to revisit your documents regularly. So as a refresher, here are three things you should have organized to give your loved ones a little more comfort in the midst of losing you: a trust, burial and ceremonial arrangements, and consolidated financials.
Your trust functions as the guiding document for the end of your life. A well-prepared trust contains four components: a healthcare directive, durable power of attorney, pour over will, and the trust itself. The healthcare directive gives guidance on medical issues such as a do not resuscitate or organ donation. Your durable power of attorney names someone to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable. A pour-over will dictates that all your other property not mentioned in your trust should be swept in under the guidance of your trust.^ Finally, the trust itself provides your wishes for your assets and will also name a trustee in charge of distributing those assets. Having a lawyer create and finalize your trust typically costs about $2000-$3000. If you need a referral, we can provide you with the names of a few of our trusted lawyers.
One of the most immediate issues your loved ones will deal with after your death is funeral arrangements. You can do a lot of the work ahead of time. There are four worthwhile steps you should take to prepare your funeral arrangements according to silversneakers.com:
1. Keep a record of your essential information.
2. Tour some funeral homes.
3. Find a burial package that makes sense to you.
4. Invest in a funeral plan or designate a plan your trust will cover. **
We often help clients who have lost a loved one and continue to receive bills, refunds, or payments from accounts they did not remember existed.
Getting accounts retitled, refunds deposited, and bills paid for a lost loved one is complicated. Take some time, to create a secure place where all your financial information can be accessed by a trusted person, likely the trustee of your trust.
Executing and concluding your trust, your funeral arrangements, and settling all of your financial affairs can be referred to as settling your estate. Complex paperwork, legal issues, distribution of assets to your beneficiaries, and dealing with the tax implications of those activities requires expert advice from CPA’s and lawyers.
For our clients, we often work alongside their trustees to quarterback the process. Additionally, we can hold a file of your estate planning documents in our cloud and here in the office under lock and key. This gives many of our clients a peace of mind knowing that should something happen, their loved ones can simply call our office for the information and support they need.