Women and Money Part 5, Your Legacy
It’s surprising how many women have not yet written a will and although you’re all amazing and seem invincible, you will pass on one day and ...
Just as we talked about early on, you are more likely to survive your partner. This will be a sad and stressful time in your life and again.
Once you’re up to it, you should speak to your lawyer and determine what rights and responsibilities you have in regard to your partner’s estate.
If you and your partner discussed details before, you should know where the will and any insurance papers are. Make sure to take these with you. Generally, you will have 6 months after probate is granted to make a claim against the estate if in fact there is no will.
If there is a will, you are probably in a good position to assist the executor in finalizing the affairs.
Make sure you apply for survivor benefits from pension plans as soon as possible.
We always encourage people that it’s never too early to prepare.
- Do the right people in your life know where to find your will or insurance policies?
- Will they know who to contact if something happens?
- Do they know where you keep your list of phone numbers? If your address book is completely in your cell phone and especially if you have the key lock password protected….you may want to rethink that and at least write down a few key folks and their numbers and make sure someone knows where the list is. One story I recently heard was that a woman was unable to update the iPad because her husband died with the password. To assist her Apple required the death certificate and a copy of the will. There was no mention of sharing that password in the will and therefore Apple would not help out, and she had to purchase a new unit.
- Have you appointed an executor? Why not?
- Do you have specific wants and needs for your funeral? Have you discussed this with your family and friends or written everything down for them? Taking care of these details now will reduce their stress during a very difficult time and this doesn’t take a lot of time to do.
- Do you have a will which appoints alternate executors and beneficiaries in the event your partner predeceases you? Personal effects like jewelry and china are often more important to women – consider attaching a list to your will setting out who will receive what.
- Be sure to raise the issues which are of concern to you with each of your advisors – lawyer – accountant – and financial planner.
Dealing with loss by investors group
It’s surprising how many women have not yet written a will and although you’re all amazing and seem invincible, you will pass on one day and without a properly executed will your estate could be divided in a way you may not have wanted.
Someone will be appointed to administer your estate, rather than you choosing the person you want.
Your preference to a guardian for the children may go unknown.
Your assets may be frozen for a much longer period of time, which means no one has access to money or property until the estate is settled
A minor’s inheritance may be frozen until he/she reaches the age of majority. At the age of majority, they will be entitled to their portion of the estate - which may be too soon
Taxes payable by your estate and/or by your heirs may be higher than if you had implemented an estate plan.
- Naming of an executor
- Guardian for minor children
- Care for dependants
- Wishes for division and distribution of assets
- Wishes in the event a beneficiary predeceases you
We always recommend putting a team together to help you with your estate plan consisting of your lawyer – your accountant and your financial planner. Each of these professionals bring a different view to the table that can help make sure that no stone is left unturned and you will leave the legacy you desire.
Of course, your estate plan goes beyond your will.
Qualities to look for: Trustworthy, good judgment, clear understanding of your wishes, ability to take on additional responsibilities, has adequate level of maturity and ability to manage any ongoing trusts for a long time. If possible, choose someone who is younger than you, although that may not be advisable if you yourself are quite young.
May choose a family member or friend. Benefits and disadvantages:
- may not be familiar with affairs and wishes;
- may not necessarily charge a fee;
- may find the time-consuming role during a time of grieving a difficult burden, especially if your estate includes any ongoing trusts for minor children, disabled heirs, etc.;
- awkward situations can arise if all beneficiaries are not treated equally.
Choosing a professional executor:
- will charge fees;
- will have expertise;
- no personal interest.
Important to avoid anyone who would be in a conflict of interest position.
Think about these are possible goals during the planning process:
Do you want to preserve as much as possible for your partner, children or grandchildren?
Do you need to provide for a child or adult with a disability?
Do you want to transfer a business to a family member?
Do you want to minimize tax? Now? Or for your beneficiaries?
Do you have a favourite charity?
These are all possible goals for your estate plan and your financial plan needs to also take these into consideration.
Just as there are with investments and insurance, there are many choices to be made and options to help preserve, maximize, equalize and protect the value of your estate. This is just a sampling of what can be considered today.
- Charitable Giving
It’s keenly important that each strategy is implemented within the context of your estate and financial plan as a whole. For a little more information go to http://www.investorsgroup.com/en/how-can-we-help/dealing-with-loss
Watch for Part 6 as we put this all together. But if you can't wait until then you can book a conversation with me at https://dave-fleischer-financial-services.appointlet.com/