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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about dealing with people and their finances, there are two things people don’t like to talk about- life insurance and wills. Regularly I meet with clients and review their legal documents with our legal team. Guess what? Typically two out of five are in need of a re-do. Here’s why…

It’s something about mortality, or that applying for life insurance or drafting a will is the beginning of the end. The fact is really, if you don’t have up to date financial and estate planning, you may leave behind devastation and heartbreak. When it comes to life insurance, it’s important to remember that it’s not for you: it’s for those you leave behind. That includes being able to continue to live in the house you so lovingly turned into a family home, to make sure your children make it to college whether you are alive or not, and the basics like food and clothing. “Buying” life insurance and forgetting about it isn’t enough: life changes, and so are your family needs. Additionally, the life insurance industry has changes radically in the past ten years: it’s possible that you could reduce or eliminate your annual payments all together, or be able to get more coverage without more premiums. Life insurance should be reviewed at lease every five years- for your family’s sake, not to mention the possibility of cutting down costs in this economic environment.

There’s an old saying:”where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Trust me- if there’s no will, it’s a terrible mess for your loved ones left behind. The legal process is a nightmare, and the time and money can be huge depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The worst thing is that the assets can be frozen: I’ve seen estates worth millions, and the family couldn’t get their hands on it for months because there was no will. A will is a document that says who gets your stuff when you are gone. This changes- and so the will must be updated.  Grandchildren are born, children fall out of favor, addiction, in-laws, and a multiple of reasons surface every few years that may necessitate a change in your will. The will is a transitory document, meaning it can be changed at any time. Have you given it any thought since you put it in that dark place you hide things you don’t want to look at again? It’s time for it to see the light- bring it out and read it. You just may be surprised at what you thought you wanted at the time, but now seems like it belongs to someone else.

Family succession planning is not a one-time job…it has to be reviewed periodically to make sure it conforms to your current needs and wishes. If you can’t remember when the last time you looked at your life insurance or will, then it’s time. For your family’s sake…

 

Happiness Quote Of The Day

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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