The importance of being prepared

In addition to having a financial goal and a well-balanced portfolio, it is also important to make sure you have no gaps in your overall financial plan. When I work with clients, I often see a gap in their estate plans. Having an estate plan is an important element of managing your investment, but I have found that clients are often reluctant to deal with it. I understand why – thinking about your death can be challenging and uncomfortable. Although it is still easy to get rid of the estate plan from your mind at a young age, in my experience it is better to start planning in advance. That way, you can set your loved one to success when the time comes.

One night in early July, while my wife and I were getting ready for bed, we had an unexpected visitor. Police officers came to my door to inform me that my elderly aunt had died in her sleep. As the executor of her estate, I knew what my aunt wanted and I thought I was ready for the moment. But I soon realized how much I had to do.

That night I was on the phone, talking to the police, contacting a funeral home, going to my family members to tell them what had happened. In the days that followed, I decided on a funeral home, went to the local court, worked on the utility, and talked to the lenders. Needless to say, it involved a lot more than I expected. After this first experience, I now have a different understanding of this process. I am grateful to those who were kind enough to help me, and I want to help you too.

Make sure your wishes are fulfilled

Before my aunt died, we met several times to discuss her estate and she was very clear about her ultimate will. The details of this conversation helped me greatly later, when I was able to perform his estate the way I knew. When having these conversations with your loved ones, it is important to make sure that all your details are clearly and easily mentioned.

It is also a good idea to draft a will or similar legal document. Without a will after your death, your assets can go through a probate process in your state, a long process that sometimes fails to divide your assets according to your proper will. You may want to consider a living desire. While it can be unpleasant to think about it, there may be times when you can’t make these decisions on your own. A living will, which is related to important medical care decisions, can empower a loved one to make these decisions on your behalf.

It is worth taking the time not to rush forward to outline in detail what you want to happen. What Is Your last wish Unless they are really discussed, it can be difficult for your loved ones to understand and act on them. These preparations do not have to be complicated or expensive, but when the unexpected happens, you need to have these documents.

Find the right lawyer for you

One thing I want to determine at the beginning of my conversation with clients is whether they have an agent or a Power of Attorney (POA). Agents and POAs have access to your financial assets and can use your funds on your behalf (for example, for your medical expenses). If you decide to name an agent or POA, it is important to choose someone you trust. While the idea of ​​giving a friend or loved one a complete picture of your investment may make you a little nervous, your agent or POA has an important mission: to make sure that whatever you do is consistent with what you want.

When unforeseen events occur, it can be debilitating for loved ones. Deciding on an estate on their own can be very stressful for them. This is why it can also be valuable to find suitable estate planning professionals who may be purposeful in guiding you and your family. If you decide to go this route, I encourage you to interview multiple attorneys to find someone you and your family feel comfortable working with. Build a relationship with them so that it is easier to have difficult conversations when you are ready.

Why this issue now

People can be very good at delaying. Estate planning is one of the things to do that is often stressed until later. It can be extremely expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

While it can be scary to think about, it is worth the time and effort to address these issues now. By doing this, you can ensure that your loved one is supported and that you can empower others to support you as well. Don’t rush into your plan – really think through it. And above all, remember that you don’t have to face it alone.

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Advisory services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited purpose trust company.

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