By Bob Landry, CFA, CFP®
Senior Relationship Manager
No one likes to think about losing a spouse but, when you have to care for minor children, you can’t afford to be unprepared. Still, there’s a level of comfort in assuming that, in the event of a death, one parent will still be around to provide that care.
But what if both parents are lost together? Who would take over guardianship of their children and how would this be determined? What if it were you and your spouse? How would you answer the same questions?
It is important to develop a thorough estate plan to provide security in such an unthinkable event. An estate plan ensures that your loved ones are taken care of; that your assets are distributed in the exact way you’d like after your passing; and that you provide answers to these questions:
- Who will care for your children and what resources will be made available to the guardian?
- How will your assets be transferred to your children?
- Do you have contingent beneficiaries named for your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial assets?
- Who will administer your estate?
- Who will take over the responsibility of caring for your elderly parents?
- Who will care for your pets?
An estate plan ensures you answer these questions well in advance of your death, for a smooth transition of responsibility and assets. Three key documents should be included in your estate plan:
- A will establishes guardianship for your minor children, names an executor, directs the distribution of certain assets, and names your preferred final arrangements.
- A guardianship document establishes who will care for your minor children if you are not yet prepared to complete full a will.
- A revocable living trust helps your children quickly receive your assets by avoiding probate. It should include instructions on creating separate trusts for your children to receive proceeds from life insurance and other financial assets.
Each state has specific laws regarding estate plans, so be sure to consult with an estate planning attorney. An AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust Relationship Manager can help provide guidance by connecting you with vetted attorneys in your area.
A concerted effort to build an estate plan that reflects your priorities, goals, and values is one of the most important legacies you can provide to your loved ones. It is possible to prepare for the worst of times while also saving for the best.
If the unthinkable still has you unsure of your future finances, schedule a meeting with me today. You’ve spent a lifetime building your legacy. Together, we can help preserve it for your future generations.