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It’s Time to Adult

by Amy Greene |

I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to die. Yup. Sorry. No one’s making it out of this life alive.

As you create your life, you have stuff that needs to be taken care of, wishes to be executed after your gone, your estate, accounts, and belongings processed through probate court. There’s a lot of administration work when you pass, which is why a good friend of mine calls it “The Business of Dying.” And it’s our job to be grown-ups and take care of business.

My husband, Walter, and I recently had our estate plan redone (see photo above).

We worked with an incredible estate planning attorney here in NJ and she walked us through every single step. We asked questions, she clarified. She even had some pieces to her service that really made us feel taken care of such as sending our Powers of Attorney to our financial professionals and sending letters to our named fiduciaries in our wills, letting them know she’s there to support them and how to contact her. She will personally walk your executor through the probate process. This is invaluable as the probate system can be confusing and tedious.

I firmly believe it is an absolute MUST to get your estate plan done. Not only are you making things easier for your family by laying out exactly how you want your estate to be divided, dispersed, and closed, you’re also giving your family a gift by getting your ducks in a row now, instead of leaving it to them to figure out on their own.

Here’s a list of the key elements of an estate plan, and I recommend you have them all:

  • Last Will & Testament – this document outlines who your executor will be, and a backup executor as well as who will have custody of your minor children should you (and their other parent) pass before they’re both 18. The will outlines what will happen to your estate – your assets and home, if you own one. The will is for when you die.
  • Durable Powers of Attorney – this document is to be used when you are still alive but unable to make financial or healthcare decisions for yourself. The POA gives the person you name FULL authority to act on your behalf and gives them immediate and full access to all of your financial accounts and management of assets. They could even sell your home without you, so choose this person wisely.
  • Living Will – this gives your next of kin permission to “pull the plug” should you be deemed brain-dead with no chance of recovery. It doesn’t mean your family will follow suit, but it does mean they have your permission to let you die naturally, if you choose.
  • HIPPA Disclosure – This was an extra document we signed that allowed us to name the family who can be told about our medical situation. We felt it best to name a few family members to help others make decisions. This is entirely up to you and is optional but recommended depending on your state.
  • I’m not going to lie – getting your estate plan done and completed with an attorney isn’t cheap. But I will tell you that it is absolutely necessary. This can cost you in the high hundreds for one person (think $850+), and up to double that if you’re married. Don’t panic – this is money well invested and you’ll create a life-long relationship with your estate planning attorney. In the long run, you’ll have made sure your estate plan is iron-clad for your state, and your attorney will guide you through any updates and changes as the years go by. Another benefit of an attorney is to protect your estate from taxes. Once you amass an estate valued at more than the current estate tax limit (the federal limit is currently $12.92M or $25.84M for a married couple).

If you don’t have an estate plan, I recommend you call some estate planning attorneys today to get a quote on what it will look like to get one done and start saving your money TODAY. This is vital and something not nearly enough of us do.

Love your family well, and get an estate plan. Let’s make it easy for our family to take care of our affairs should anything happen to us. Let’s save them a lot of trouble having to figure it out on their own while also grieving your passing.

It’s time to adult.

Have questions about your estate plan, ask! Send me an email and we’ll talk it through.

Amy Greene Financial Coaching
Financial Coach & Speaker
Ramsey Preferred Coach