We will all leave this earth and die sometime. While inevitable, death can sometimes strike without warning, when it is least expected. Prepare financially for your passing and protect so those you leave behind so they suffer less and can continue to dream fearlessly. The peace of mind is simply priceless. Here are 5 steps you need to take today to protect your family and the things youve worked your whole life to build, should the unthinkable happen to you.
Protect Your Investments.
Contact an attorney to set up a living will or trust for all stocks, bonds, bank accounts, companies, insurance policies, investments, real estate, and anything considered an asset. Name an executor of your estate/assets, and identify who the beneficiaries are – along with what proportions of your assets each one should receive. Its crucial to get this will or trust in place immediately. If you do not have a will or trust at the time of your death, all of your assets will default to the state. $41.7 billion in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets are currently in the hands of state treasurers because the families of the deceased were unaware about them. Need an attorney? If you cant afford an attorney, most state websites have information and templates on how to set up a living will yourself and there are a number of commercial online resources to help you.
Take a careful inventory of all your financial assets – including retirement plans, pensions and annuities as well as jewelry, property and the contents of your safe deposit boxes – and make a note of where each asset is located. If you have multiple sources of income, you may want to consider meeting with a financial advisor to get these details organized. You can find one through The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Much like an attorney, a financial advisor can help you make various accounts accessible to your surviving family members – and even create spending plans for them. Speaking of access, dont forget to secure your digital life by consolidating all of your usernames and passwords and handing them off to someone you trust. Not only will this provide your family members with access to digital assets like your bank, credit card and email accounts, it will allow them to delete accounts (like your Facebook profile) that you may not want to have floating around after you die.
What Does Debt Look Like To You?
No one likes surprises, especially those left behind. Make a list of all debts – including mortgages, business loans, car loans to credit cards and bankruptcy information – and store it in a single, easy-to-access master file. This way, your next of kin will know exactly how much you owe – and to whom – without having to search or, even worse, be hounded by collection agencies. To facilitate paying off your debts (and avoid any conflicts with power of attorney), you may want to add a family member or two to at least one of your bank accounts so they can always have access to your funds.
Power of Attorney.
Make sure you designate a medical power of attorney for you and your spouse, if applicable. This person will literally be making life or death decisions in the event that you cannot. It is especially crucial that this person knows your wishes when it comes to healthcare options and quality of life issues, both of which can have a serious financial impact on the family members and friends you leave behind.
Get Life Insurance.
Life is the only thing we know wont last forever. Its simple really, life insurance is a must. Should you die unexpectedly, life insurance will protect those loved ones. Already have life insurance coverage? Great. Just make sure that a) your family knows you have it, especially if you have multiple policies from former employers, and b) you have enough to meet your current lifestyle. A life insurance policy shouldnt just replace your salary after you die. Your death benefit should be substantial enough to cover your funeral expenses, mortgage, car loans, credit cards, college tuition and, if necessary, childcare costs. Life insurance protects those closest to you and allows them the opportunity to continue to take action towards fulfilling their dreams. How do you want to be remembered?
Think you cant afford it? Think again. If youre in good health, term life insurance can cost less per day than what you spend on coffee.
SelectQuote not only offers free expert advice on how much life insurance you and your family actually need, but we also comparison shop a select group of highly-rated life insurance companies for your best rates. To find out more from one of our personal life insurance advisors, click here or call 1-855-872-1266