End-of-life planning? Start at the beginning.
- In your estate planning guidebook, start with your final letter of instruction. This tells everybody who reads it what’s most important to you.
- Essential end-of-life items include your powers of attorney for healthcare and property, your personal data and identifying your advisors.
- Don’t forget about your digital legacy after you pass on. Someone must be assigned to handle your digital photos, videos and social media accounts.
Unfortunately we always have several clients going through the probate process. I don’t mean they’re going through probate in the courts, but they’re going through the overall estate planning, end-of-life process in which we are helping family members through this difficult transition.
We’ve learned a lot about probate over the past 30 years, and we’ve been very proactive about it. That’s why we put together an estate planning guidebook for our clients. We start in the wealth planning area, with the “Why,” which is your final letter of instruction. This is very important, because it outlines what’s most important to you.
Six key end-of-life items
There are six very important end-of-life items you want to address right up front:
- The final letter of instruction.
- Power of attorney for healthcare (i.e., being sure to take care of your body).
- Power of attorney for property (taking care of all your property).
- Your final instructions.
- Your personal data.
- Who your advisors are.
You want to make certain your estate planning documents are established properly as well to include wills, trusts and other advanced directives for the guidebook. Next, you want to document all of your financial information and indicate where those assets are located. This way your loved ones can easily figure out this information after you pass away.
Those are the first couple of sections of the guidebook. Then we get into your personal wishes. This is where you get a little more specific about what’s very important to you beyond just your final letter of instruction. The big thing that’s happening today is your “digital legacy.” For instance, you may have hundreds if not thousands of digital photos out there. People are also increasing their use of recording videos for posterity.
After people pass away, someone has to close out all of their social media and email accounts and oversee what happens to their digital assets. That’s why we’ve put together an estate planning guidebook for you that contains all the information we’ve described in this post and more.
The guidebook makes it very helpful for our clients and others to be well-prepared. Think of it as the love letter to their loved ones, the folks who are going to end up having these assets passed to them.
As our clients know, estate planning is part of our overall process. If you’re not a client, then you should consider taking advantage of our free Second Opinion Service. Come in and see if we can help you with anything related to your financial life or estate. There’s no obligation.
Until next time, enjoy. Gary
We value your comments and opinions, but due to regulatory restrictions, we cannot accept comments directly onto our blog. We welcome your comments via e-mail and look forward to hearing from you.