5 Ways You Can Tackle Estate Planning Now
A recent survey of over 2,000 married adults found that nearly 33% percent of couples do not have life insurance, and of those couples nearly half reported they would not be financially prepared if something were to happen to their spouse. Another recent online poll found that about 70% of adults with children under the age of 18 do not have a will. By taking basic steps now, you can provide security for your family’s future.
- Take into account how much life insurance you and your family need. Most working adults opt to go with whatever life insurance policy their employer provides, but the coverage may not be enough for your family. Be sure to keep in mind that if your employment status changes down the road then you may lose your policy.
- Understand your spouse’s life insurance policy. You should know the company that holds the policy, how much coverage the policy provides, how much the policy costs, when the coverage term expires, and the deadline for converting term coverage to permanent life insurance. Review life insurance policies annually, and confirm beneficiary information is still correct.
- Create a will. This will allow you to designate who gets your belongings and assets in case of death. You can also name a personal representative to manage your estate, and name a guardian for your child/children. If you do not have a will then your estate will be settled in accordance with your state’s inheritance laws. It is advisable to meet with an estate planning attorney to set up your will because they are also able to help with other estate planning needs such as setting up trusts, and assisting with financial/healthcare powers of attorney documents.
- Keep your important documents in a secure place where your spouse will be able to access the information. You may want to consider creating a one page quick start guide with basic information such as bank accounts, life insurance companies/policy numbers, and location of important documents.
- Have a discussion with your spouse about final wishes, including preferences about burial and cremation. Written documents can be especially important for blended families (where children from different marriages may face conflict if there is uncertainty over what a parent actually wanted.)
Talking about the end of life may not be a conversation you and your spouse wish to have, but it is important to prepare for a possible financial emergency. By taking your estate planning needs into account now, you can provide your family with a sense of security for the long run.