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Estate planning: Paper, practical and process

This is part of our Big Six series. We're digging into the six big areas of money and financial planning.

Last time we talked about insurance. ​Now we're on estate planning.

Your will is done. So you’ve got an estate plan, right?

Wrong.

You’re missing important stuff. Don't leave your family and friends in trouble if something happens to you.

Watch this video to learn what to do:

Paper

"Paper" just means the actual estate planning documents. That includes your will, powers of attorney and advanced directive (aka living will).

Your will states how to distribute or dispose of your assets. All the stuff you own.

Powers of attorney allow someone you designate to speak or act on your behalf. Like if you were in a coma or otherwise unable to.

The advanced directive tells the doctors how to treat you. Don't want to be kept alive on a ventilator. That's in the advanced directive.

Do you need this stuff? Only if you own anything or have friends and family.

Get it done. Now. 

Practical

When I say "practical" I mean the actual nuts and bolts of dealing with you not being here.

Say you died. You were good and had a will. It's in your bank safe deposit box. Terrific.

Who knows where your safe deposit box key is kept? What bank is it? What 's the phone number? Who should I ask for?

You can keep this stuff written down. Just make sure the people you want to take care of it know about it.

That's the practical stuff I'm talking about. Other stuff: insurance info (health and life), your doctors, your relatives, your Facebook login, etc.

Process​

Estate planning is a process. 

So you're never 'done'. You'll want to review and update things. Life happens and the world changes.

Example: You get divorced. Your ex is still the beneficiary of your 401k at work. Your will says your new spouse gets everything. Guess what?

The ex gets the 401k. Yikes.

Make sure what you want to happen is what actually happens. Then you and your friends and family will be in better shape.

Cheers!​

Tommy Sikes​

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