15 Oct 2015 The State Fair, the Best of Times, and the Worst of Times
My wife Amy and I are taking our son Miles to the fair this afternoon, and as I thought back to my own State Fair memories of riding bumper cars and watching all kinds of people, I was reminded yet again of the important role experiences play in our lives. At Beacon we have the privilege of helping folks dream about and actually make a reality some really neat experiences, which is a tremendous joy to us.
But, while we are of the mind that taking an optimistic approach to planning is wise, we also recognize that sometimes families have to deal with very difficult experiences–ones that blindside you and leave you reeling. And just as it is our privilege to be a source of guidance in good times, it is also our privilege to be a trusted resource in those bad times.
While there is nothing you can do, no product you can buy to prevent these types of terrible experiences, there are some really simple things you can do now to keep your loved ones from having to deal with a tangle of administrative and financial matters on top of the emotional distress that accompanies sickness or injury or even death.
These following simple tasks aren’t as fun or as exciting as planning a great vacation with your family, but they serve as tangible ways of caring deeply for the people you love in the case of an unforeseen traumatic event:
- Will/guardianship/estate planning. One of the most important things you can do for your family’s security is make sure you have a will in place that is currently reflective of your wishes. This should include guardianship provisions if you have minor children, Healthcare Powers of Attorney, and perhaps a trust document that provides additional financial directives for your estate.
- Life Insurance. At the top of the list along with with a will and estate planning is making sure that you have enough life insurance. We think term policies are generally the best for most folks. Be sure that beneficiary information is up to date, including having a named trust as a contingent beneficiary if applicable.
- Disability Insurance. This one is often overlooked, but incredibly important. Whether there are one or two income earners in the family, it’s important to have a policy in place that will replace a portion of income should an income earner become disabled for any extended period of time. Without having this in place, a tremendous burden could fall to someone in your family not only to make sure you’re taken care of, but also to provide additional income.
- Using us as a repository for copies of important documents and statements. It’s often the case in families that one individual serves as the point person on financial matters. If that person is incapacitated for any reason, would the family know where to find copies of wills, bank statements, tax documents, and other administrative files? Please consider allowing us to store copies of important documents and locations of financial accounts we will make available to your family in the event you are no longer able to direct your family’s financial affairs.
- Using us as a facilitator between other professional advisors you may have. This activity relates to the point above, especially in the case of a death, where numerous requirements need prompt attention and are challenging under the best of circumstances. Please remember that as your trusted advisor, we consider it our duty to serve as a “quarterback” of your team of professional advisors. Whether you need assistance meeting with a CPA, Attorney, Insurance agent, or all of them together, we are here to facilitate.
It is difficult to think about–let alone talk to your loved ones about–the events that would cause any of the above tasks to be necessary, but by preparing in advance, you will have made a difficult time for your family measurably less difficult. For those of you who are Beacon clients, we will go over these the next time you come in so that we can make sure things are in order. If you’re not a Beacon client and would like to discuss in more detail some of the ideas covered, please feel free to give us a call or schedule a meeting. We’d love to talk.