Will your family know where to find your life insurance policies and legal documents when you die? Will your family know whether you want to be buried or cremated? Will they know where to find usernames and passwords for your online accounts? To state the obvious, after you’re dead, it’s too late. You cannot come back and tell your family the password to the Wi-Fi!
I’ve been through this experience with my Mom and Dad. We were able to get most of their financial house in order before they died, but there were still things we missed. One of the biggest misses was not talking about funeral plans. I remember being shocked by the decisions that had to be made when my Mom died in 2018. It was overwhelming. Even after my Mom died, I could not bring myself to ask my Dad about funeral planning. When he died in February 2021, my sisters and I returned to the same funeral home we used for our Mom and told them to follow the same plan. We were shocked when the cost for his funeral was $4,000 more, and we were only doing a graveside service due to COVID. This experience made clear how easy it is to be taken advantage of while grieving.
Thankfully, there’s a resource that can help. The Family Love Letter is a workbook that helps you get your financial house in order by organizing your thoughts, wishes, what you own, and what you owe. A completed Family Love Letter will reduce confusion and stress for your family as well as minimize mistakes. The Family Love Letter workbook has a place to list:
- Your advisors and their contact information
- Retirement accounts and beneficiary designations
- Military benefits
- Bank accounts
- Real estate: your home, vacation home, rental properties
- Frequent flyer miles
- Credit cards
- Notes receivable and how you want these handled at your death
- Subscriptions: Netflix, Amazon, magazines, etc.
- Insurance: life, disability, long-term care, property and casualty, medical, Medicare
- Prescriptions and physicians
- Employee benefits
- Family history
- Ethical will: how do you want to be remembered?
- Estate planning documents: will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, trust.
Our loved ones must live with the result of our planning or failure to plan. When you work on your Family Love Letter, you may discover that documents are missing or beneficiaries need to be changed. Can you imagine the stress you will save your family by finding this missing information and updating those beneficiaries now, rather than leaving these problems for your grieving family to address later?
For more information on the Family Love Letter, please reach out to your Bridgeworth advisor.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Adviser.