Most of us don’t want to think about the time when we won’t be around anymore for our loved ones and our loved ones certainly don’t want to think about when we won’t be around for them either. While difficult to do, it is highly recommended that you share your estate plan and financial plan with those who will be responsible for, and perhaps even the beneficiaries of your estate when you do pass on. If you have not created an estate plan or financial plan yet, it may be helpful, with the guidance of a qualified financial adviser, to help facilitate that discussion so that all options are considered. Some of the most well-executed estate plans have come with complete discussions with the entire family to get all of the issues out now while they can still be addressed, instead of after the fact when no changes can be made.
In having these discussions, it is also important to note where important documents such as wills and insurance policies can be found. It would be helpful to create a list of all bank, investment, retirement, and insurance accounts and their beneficiaries as well. Remember that any account, such as an IRA, generally has a designated beneficiary. Any account with a beneficiary designation does not pass through your will, but rather to who is listed as beneficiary on the account. Your will and beneficiary forms can be entirely different, and perhaps not even listing who you might like to receive a particular asset. There are even significant tax benefits in naming certain individuals or entities beneficiaries as well.