Estate planning isn't exactly people's favorite topic of discussion, but it's absolutely necessary. When planning for the unexpected, it is essential to discuss your finances and accounts to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. Even after creating an estate plan, couples forget to discuss and answer three important questions.
1. How well does your spouse know your financial advisor?
Your relationship with your financial advisor becomes very important upon death because he will likely be involved with the managing of you and your spouse's accounts. An uncomfortable situation may arise if one spouse passes away while the other is left to work very closely with and rely upon an unfamiliar financial advisor during an extremely vulnerable time.
Typically, one spouse manages the family's finances, while the other spouse has never even met their financial advisor. If that is the case, it is extremely important for the unfamiliar spouse to get well-acquainted with the financial advisor. Be sure to set up an appointment for a financial review and bring your spouse along. Then, have your advisor discuss your full financial situation so that everyone can establish a good understanding of your financial affairs.
2. Does your spouse know where all of your accounts are located and how to access them?
Upon your death, your spouse may be left to deal with funeral expenses, outstanding debts, and basic living expenses. Your spouse will likely need to access money immediately; therefore, it is important that you walk through all of your financial accounts so he/she knows how to withdraw necessary funds. Be sure to include passwords for all online accounts/memberships and a list of all accounts/memberships (online and offline) along with any necessary instructions.
3. Are your wills and beneficiary designations up-to-date?
Life is always changing. Chances are that after you've created your initial will or
trust, your circumstances changed—you had more children, acquired more assets, or had a falling out with friends. Your will or trust should be reviewed at least every three to five years; more often if there is a change in your finances or personal circumstances.
You and your spouse should take the time to make sure these three questions are addressed and answered. Contact Atlantis Law today to schedule a free consultation to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.