A Holistic View on Estate Planning

Estate Planning is about more than the preparation of vital documents:

  • Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Proxy/Power of Attorney
  • Beneficiary Statements
  • Trusts

These documents may not always feel like pressing needs or be particularly fun to think about, but for the sake of your loved ones, it’s important to be prepared.

We tend to put these items off in light of more immediate concerns or expenses, but life events are unpredictable. This is a case of “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” Take the extra time and resources now to avoid complications later.

In addition to the legal documents, we encourage clients to consider the bigger picture.

Talk with your family about the critical issues of aging when you are still healthy. Too often families wait for a crisis before they talk, then it might be too late. Opening the lines of communication when everyone is healthy can help assure a smooth transition between the generations, preserving the family’s legacy, protecting the family’s assets, and maintaining family unity.

Questions to consider

  • Would your loved ones benefit from a “family meeting” where everything is explained?
  • Does your family know your funeral wishes?
  • Have you made introductions to your trusted advisors (attorney, CPA, investment advisor)?
  • Does your executor/executrix know about your plans and wishes? If they are a family member, do they want the job? Do they have the time and skills to manage the estate or would a corporate entity be a better choice?
  • Does your Durable Power of Attorney understand your finances and the investment philosophy? Do they have easy access to your accounts and statements?
  • Lastly, are there up-to-date records of usernames and passwords? Have you considered digital assets like your email account, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, iTunes, etc.?

Health Care Wishes

Perhaps you feel like your finances are in order, but you don’t know where to start with health care.

Where would you like to receive care:

  • In your home for as long as possible
  • Skilled care facility – How will this be paid for?

3 resources to help get you started

  • Five Wishes® is a document that has been created to help people more effectively communicate their intentions when they get seriously ill. Please request a copy from your Conrad Siegel consultant
  • The Conversation Project also explores end of life planning, helping to organize one’s thoughts about their needs and wishes. Please request a copy from your consultant
  • “File of Life” is a tool to establish one central location to maintain all your important medical data and emergency contacts. http://www.folife.org/