Spring has officially sprung and that means it’s spring cleaning time. Shake out the rugs, clean out the cupboards, and get your legal and financial affairs in order.
For plenty of folks, it’s easy to know what to do when it comes to home organization, but the idea of legal and financial ordering can be complex and confusing.
This article will give you a few places to start:
Request updated beneficiary designation forms from your life insurance account and retirement account custodians. Look at the form and identify whether you have a minor designated as either a primary or contingent beneficiary. If you do, those assets will be tied up in Court, unnecessarily, and may not be available to the people you’ve named to care for your children.
Consider designating your life insurance and retirement accounts to be distributed to a trust for the benefit of your heirs, providing Court and creditor protection, and ensuring your children do not inherit money before they are properly prepared.
Your Family Wealth Inventory is where we document the assets that you own, so that in the event you become incapacitated or when you die, your family will know how to find what you own.
Without an updated Family Wealth Inventory, your assets could be lost to the state department of unclaimed property. There’s currently millions of dollars of assets in our state department of unclaimed property because most people do not leave a clear record of their assets at the time of their incapacity or death.
Review your guardian nomination designations. Have you named guardians for both the short-term (local) and the long-term (people you would trust to raise your kids fully)? If so, do they need to change? Is there anyone you would wish to exclude? Does the ID card for your wallet need to be updated? This is the time to check.
Get a copy of the deed to your house and make sure that your trust is listed as the owner on the deed, if you want your house to stay out of court in the event of your incapacity or death. If you see your personal name on the deed, and there is not a trust listed, you can be sure that would result in your house having to go through the court process of probate in the event of your death. If you don’t want that, now is the perfect time to spruce up your planning.
Last, but far from least, this is the perfect time of year to come in and meet with a Personal Family Lawyer for a Family Wealth Planning Session, whether you’ve done planning in the past or not. They will have a 2-hour working meeting that will get you more financially organized than you’ve likely ever been before (unless you’ve already done planning with us) and give you the confidence of knowing you’ve made the most empowered, informed and educated legal and financial decisions for the people you love.