A lifetime of hard work may have rewarded you with a nice home and hefty bank accounts, but what happens to all those assets once you’re gone?
Maybe you want everything to go to the kids. Perhaps a charity or a cause you champion should get a portion. And what happens if, before you die, your mental capacity diminishes and you can no longer make decisions for yourself?
Just thinking about your final wishes – or mentioning them to a close friend over coffee – isn’t enough.
“I believe too many people don’t do the proper planning to make sure that any wealth they’ve accumulated over the years ends up where they want it to,” says Jaime Cowper, president of Unity Financial Advisors (www.unityfinancialadvisors.net).
“Of course, that’s not going to cause any problems for the deceased because they’ll be gone. Those left behind, though, could end up feuding over property, paying more taxes than necessary, or just becoming stressed as they try to put together the puzzle pieces of your estate.”
But you don’t have to leave your heirs guessing about your intentions. Cowper suggests an estate-management checklist to make sure everything is in order.
And if you’re lacking with any item on the list, she says, a financial professional can help steer you in the right direction.
Finally, make sure your heirs know where to find all of your important documents.
“When you’ve done all this planning, you don’t want to leave your heirs searching through closets, attics and dresser drawers in search of your important papers,” Cowper says. “You won’t be there to guide them, so someone should know exactly where to look.”
About Jaime Cowper
Jaime Cowper, president of Unity Financial Advisors (www.unityfinancialadvisors.net), is an Investment Advisor Representative under Alphastar Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm. She has a life and health insurance license with the states of Michigan, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Minnesota.