We all like to fantasize about immortality: we’re invincible in those dreams, and every once in awhile we act the part in our daily lives. Although this remains the truth for most of us, the responsible ones have still put considerable time and money into planning for the future. Who will have control over the estate when you’re not able to do so yourself? What will happen to your assets after you’re gone? In order to retain control while you have the chance, now is the time to answer these questions–even if you’re still young.
Estate planning in the event of your death is not an easy process, nor should it be one. This is about your life and everything you’ve built. While your estate planning attorney goes over the ins and outs of the documents you might consider drawing up, and explains the probate process that you’re helping prepare your family for, he or she might also suggest obtaining a life insurance policy if that’s something you haven’t done already.
Even if you haven’t procured the services of an estate planning lawyer already, you’ve probably been offered the benefit of life insurance at some point in your life. Did you take it when you were first offered? The answer is all too often a resounding “no.” If that’s the case, then a good lawyer might be able to persuade you on behalf of your family. Because you now have the proper legal advice to act upon, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing exactly how much money your family can expect to see based on specific policies, and you’ll know how it might be used in the event of your death.
Without this advice, most of us decide whether or not to buy life insurance as if we were flipping a coin. After all, why spend the money if the benefit isn’t something we’ll ever experience ourselves? Most people who’ve lost a loved one without any financial support can answer that question easily enough, and hopefully you’ll never have to do the same.
When you purchase a policy, there are only a few things to keep in mind. Your lawyer will help you with everything. Who are your beneficiaries? Where are the relevant documents and policies held? These are questions that should be asked during the estate planning phase. Be sure that your potential heirs have as much information as is appropriate. Let them know that you have a policy under which they’re listed. They might also benefit from knowing specific details about the policy, such as the number, the insurer, the value, and any possible date of expiration.
Contact information is also important in order for an insurer to get in touch with a beneficiary in the event that the beneficiary either wasn’t aware of your death, or didn’t know who to contact on their own. With access to this information, your beneficiaries will likely have access to the benefit funds sooner than they would otherwise.
There are a number of circumstances that can change in life, and these can all have an effect on estate planning. Did you get divorced? Did you get married? Did you receive an inheritance of your own? Did you win the lotto? All of these factors are important when considering how to manage your affairs. Be sure that your financial and legal advisors are kept aware and up to date of these key life events.