When we think about that commercial holiday called Valentine’s Day, our focus normally is on gifts to our significant other and to ourselves. After all, this holiday is about us, right? Perhaps this year you might consider a gift to your family and loved ones that is about you in a different way.
If you haven’t already done this, consider communicating to your loved ones your plan for what happens when you die. Though hopefully that day is a long way off, this is definitely a case where being prepared is a very good thing. If you make decisions now, then your loved ones will not be faced with making them when they should instead be celebrating your life.
It is more than simply saying that your assets go to spouse, children, other family members, charities and so on. It is about your funeral arrangements and wishes in that regard. It is about your intention for the financial gifts and transfers and the details of all those things. Your loved ones should not have to go through all your things to try to find out if you had life insurance, savings, accounts and other items of value. And in these days of social media and computers, your passwords and account access may be critical for the person(s) chosen to wrap up your affairs.
The plan does NOT have to be complete and final at this stage but can be preliminary in nature so as to invite questions, comment and participation by your loved ones. They can help in this process and will be a better part of it if you take this approach. It will allow for a more complete finalized plan and will minimize problems with settling the estate, will allow explanation of reasoning and thoughts of client, will save on stress and cost after death, and more.
This will set expectations for the next generation(s) and help them to plan their future better with the information. It allows guidance to come from the client as to family history, values and more that may not have been fully shared or understood. It provides clients with more confidence that their wishes are understood and may even be implemented. The legacy is clearer and more likely in this fashion.
Do not forget, snow or other bad weather need not prevent or delay delivery of this gift.