Putting Your Affairs In Order: 7 Steps To Make Sure You’re Prepared
They say there are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. Each year we prepare and file our taxes, but do we prepare for our inevitable death? It is a morbid subject, but it’s one that would be very wise and especially helpful to your loved ones to prepare for. Making sure you have a plan in place will create a protocol and ensure your preferences are carried out in the event of a medical catastrophe.
Fortunately, this is not as overwhelming as it seems. Here are seven steps you can take to make sure you’re fully prepared for any eventuality:
1.) Take inventory of all your valuables and debts
First, list every physical item you own that’s worth $100 or more, like jewelry collections, vehicles and computers. Next, list all non-physical assets, including 401k plans, IRA assets and insurance policies. Include all open accounts with Sharon Credit Union and other institutions. While completing this step, check that all beneficiaries listed on these accounts are the ones you want and that all other information is correct. Third, list all your open credit cards and other debts.
2.) Select an estate administrator
Choose someone to be responsible for executing your will. Choose carefully: Remember that emotions accompanying your death may impair loved ones’ decision-making ability.
3.) Send a copy of your assets list to your estate administrator
Date and sign your completed lists. Make three copies of each list and give the original to your estate administrator. Give your spouse another copy to place in a safe-deposit box and keep a third copy in a safe place at home.
4.) Assign TOD designations
Prevent your assets from being distributed through an expensive court process by assigning a TOD, or transfer-on-death beneficiary.
5.) Create a will
This will serve as the guide for the distribution of your assets upon your death, preventing family feuds and expensive court proceedings. Also, assign power-of-attorney to a designated lawyer, choose a health-care surrogate and select guardians for your kids and pets.
Sign and date your will, have two witnesses sign it and obtain a notarization on the final draft. Make three copies: one for your estate administrator, another to be kept in a safe place at home and a third for your spouse.
6.) Create a living will
In case of a medical catastrophe, a living will is important. This document stipulates who is to make medical decisions on your behalf and specifies whether you’d like to be subjected to resuscitation or other invasive procedures.
7.) Create an estate-information packet
By creating one master document, or an estate-information packet containing all important information, you’ll save your loved ones hours of work. Your packet should include details like your Social Security number, the location of your living will and your designated estate administrator.
Check out this link for a list that can serve as your guide when creating your estate-information packet: http://drotterholt.com/affairs.html
Now that your affairs are in order, you can enjoy life without the stress of, “What would happen if!”
Your Turn: Thinking about what happens after you’re gone is never easy. How did you motivate yourself to take care of this task?
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