To begin planning your estate is really about beginning to think through the very intricacies of your life. You think about your values and your family, for sure, and this may be the most important thing. Then there is the nitty-gritty you might be overlooking: the financial, the legal, and the shared understandings. Make time for some real thinking, but also take some time to begin thinking about what you might be overlooking before planning in earnest. The bits and pieces that are easiest to overlook are the kinds of things best uncovered by some friendly self-interrogation. To help get that conversation started, consider reading a recent article in US News & World Report titled “3 Important Estate Planning Questions.” These three questions are really only a start, but they are good ones, especially for married couples. The three? 1. How well does my spouse know our financial advisor? 2. Does my spouse know where all our accounts are located and how to access them? 3. Are our wills and beneficiary designations up-to-date? If you answer any or all in the negative, then the original article has some easy suggestions. Following through is a natural lead-in to having the right conversations and doing the right things. At least for this list of questions, the truly important lesson comes down to starting the right conversations with your spouse. Read a bit more in the original piece and further the conversation with competent counsel who can guide you, your spouse and all of your loved ones in building the right plan to both catch all the details and achieve your unique important goals.
Reference: US News & World Report (May 1, 2014) “3 Important Estate Planning Questions”