What a difference it makes being prepared!
Laying your clothes out the night before, planning your meals and making a list for the grocery, studying for an exam 1-2 weeks in advance, studying game film for your upcoming opponent; these are all simple examples of the ways we prepare ourselves for the events that occur in our lives. We have all learned that doing things at the last minute is a sure way to add anxiety and stress into your already busy schedule.
Some of the toughest meetings I have are with families after they have lost a loved one. Sometimes the deceased had their affairs in order, and sometimes they never got around to it. The difference in how this impacts your surviving loved ones is huge. Both families are grieving their loss, but only one must add tough financial decisions to an already full plate. One was prepared and the other was not.
We help many families at Financial Enhancement Group with their estate plans. We promise to help our families complete their Financial Journey, and the only way to truly do that is to plan out what happens to their assets when they are gone. We do simple things like verify their beneficiary designations on their accounts annually; but we also help review the details of their trusts.
When we review estate documents, we verify that the family is still ok with the plan that was created in the original document or most recent amendment. Life changes, so these documents should be reviewed every 3-5 years at a minimum to make sure everything is accounted for – marriages, divorces, births, and deaths are all triggering events that should lead to review as well.
Questions to consider and discuss when planning: do you have enough life insurance coverage to make sure your family is taken care of? Can you be sure that the assets your heirs receive will be well-managed based on your wishes? Will the transfer of your assets harm or help your heirs? Do you have heirs with special needs that need their inheritance protected?
While it is important for the Grantor of the trust to understand his estate plan, it is more important that his Successor Trustee knows the plan as well, because they are the ones who will oversee the carrying out of wishes, rules, and provisions that are detailed in the trust. Children are generally named as the Successor Trustee for their parents’ trust, but they do not always know what responsibilities they are taking on. Mom just told me in passing that I am her trustee in her trust is not exactly preparing them for the job.
Take time to review the plans in your trust with your Successor Trustee. Keep your important documents organized and easily accessible to your family. Do everything you can to make sure your family is prepared and there is no last-minute scrambling and regrets.
Have the discussion with your family. Your loved ones will appreciate it more than you know.
Financial Enhancement Group is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through World Equity Group, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services can be provided by Financial Enhancement Group (FEG) or World Equity Group. FEG and World Equity Group are separately owned and operated.