- The above chart from JP Morgan’s 2016 Guide to Retirement, provides a glimpse of the life expectancy of someone who is currently age 65. Given the 47% chance that one of you will live until age 90, it’s vital to make sure your financial plan including your estate plan is appropriate given your personal health status and family history.
- If not in place already, have an estate plan drafted. If you have one in place, it may not have been updated in years or may only have your “Last Will & Testament” (Will), but you never put Power of Attorney documents in place in the event you aren’t able to make decisions on your own. Go ahead and take care of this now while you can.
Was he in denial about his condition? Not at all. He knew what was likely ahead in his near future. And thankfully, because of that, the one change he did make was he immediately started planning. Although he’d had estate documents in place and periodically updated for years, the week after his diagnosis he had his estate plan reviewed and updated. He made sure everything was in line so the transition would be as easy as it could be for my mother, his executor and trustees. He also spent countless hours making sure that he had a flawless succession plan in line at work.
Through this difficult time, it became very clear to me how essential estate planning is. As a financial advisor, I have taken classes on risk management and estate planning, so I have known for a long time that it is important. But this made it much more real.
Many individuals put off estate planning because we don’t like thinking about our mortality. We would rather continue life as usual without having to deal with the hassle of tasks like creating estate documents or choosing guardians for minor children. Don’t make that mistake. None of us are promised tomorrow, so it was best to have a plan in place ahead of time to make the transition as easy as possible for his employees and his clients.
The Legacy Journey
I recently read a book titled The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey. In this book it talked about the concept of organizing all of your financial and other important documents into one “Legacy Drawer” so that if something were to happen, your family would be able to quickly access needed documents. This could be considered one of the greatest gifts you could leave behind for your family. After all, during such an emotional time they are likely pre-occupied and having an organized system will make things easier for them.
- Blog: “The Legacy Drawer” A list of 11 items that are recommended to be in your legacy drawer.
- Blog & Podcast: “Prince’s Estate Issues Underscore the Importance of a Will” with accompanying podcast episode 11
*As financial planners we do not create estate planning documents as these legal documents should be handled by an estate planning attorney. Our job is to provide education to our clients around estate planning issues and provide a recommendation on ways to align their finances with their estate planning goals and work with their estate planning attorney where necessary.