This discussion presents five steps to ensuring your family is taken care of in case of a death or disability.

We all know and some have personally experienced how an unexpected family death, disability or tragedy can be emotionally and financially devastating.  Our goal is to prevent potential financial problems from adding to the emotional stress of an unexpected family tragedy.  

Personally, I was involved in an accident three years ago when I broke my neck on a trampoline.  Although slightly embarrassing to share how this happened (give me a call if you want to hear the story), I’m extremely grateful that I was able to return to work within a few months.  I realize that I was one of the lucky ones to have experienced a full recovery.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined on that day I could have potentially ended my career, become paralyzed or even died from this accident.  Please let my accident be a wakeup call to us all.  Let’s make sure we’re prepared for the unexpected!

Here are five steps you must take as soon as possible to begin the process of protecting yourself and your family in case of untimely death or disability.  This list is NOT all inclusive.  In future articles we will focus more on disability benefits that we all should have as well.

Everyone needs a Last Will and Testament.  

A will tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the best place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a will — also known as dying “intestate” — can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.

Everyone needs these basic elements of an Estate Plan.  

The basic documents required for all of us, regardless of age, are a will, assignment of power of attorney (healthcare and property); and a living will (state dependent) For some people, a trust may also make sense.

If you are a Southwest Airlines family you may be able to get these documents drafted by an Estate Planning Attorney at no cost as part of your Health Care benefits.  Please give me call or email if you’d like the information to get started.  

We always recommend seeing a qualified Estate Planning attorney for these documents.  

LIfe Insurance and Long-Term Care insurance are a critical part of your estate plan.

You may be at a point in your life where you no longer need life insurance, however, it is usually at this time Long Term Care needs become more of a risk that needs to be addressed.  

If you’ve recently experienced significant life changes such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child make sure you review your beneficiaries on all of your investment accounts and life insurance contracts.  

Take inventory of your assets – Get Organized.

Use your secure vault on our LE Portal to organize and view your entire financial picture.  

At a minimum record the following information to help your loved ones in case of your untimely death or disability:

  • Investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, real estate or business interests, personal possessions and any debts or liabilities.  
  • In your secure vault or (other secure location) record important contact information such as:
    • Commonly used usernames and passwords.  
    • Trusted professionals and family members that can help those left behind; LIfe Insurance representative, Attorney, Financial Advisor, etc.

Discuss your estate plans with your heirs to prevent disputes or confusion.

Inheritance can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you’re gone.

Finally, preparing for the worst takes some effort and “getting around to it” can be extremely difficult.  We struggle with the same issues.  Unfortunately we can’t do these items for you but we can continue to nudge (some say pester!) you in the right direction.  We also provide guidance on topics such as Long Term Care insurance, the proper types and  amounts of Life Insurance and whether you should consider a Trust in your estate plan.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way.  We put a tremendous amount of time and effort into making sure your investment portfolio is working hard for you but we often tell people you won’t care about your investment return when your family experiences an unexpected tragedy and you’re not prepared for it.     

Please enjoy the video below

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for your portfolio. Moreover, you should not assume that any information or any corresponding discussions serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for,  personalized investment advice from Leading Edge Financial Planning personnel.The opinions expressed are those of Leading Edge Financial Planning as of 5 August 2016 and are subject to change at any time due to the changes in market or economic conditions.

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