Broker Check

Estate Planning

May 21, 2024

I believe this is the most important blog I write every year; however, I feel for the most part it is not acted upon.  May is estate planning month.  I have incorporated everything you could need for proper estate planning into Birds Eye Wealth Planning.  As many of you have heard me say, the easiest plan we make is the first one.  Why?  Because then life happens.  There is a difficult side to this job that most people are unaware of.  As financial planners not only are we dealing with one of your most intimate possessions … your money ... but we are also involved in the most painful of circumstances when bad things happen in life.  Over the last 15 years I have seen premature deaths, unexpected disabilities and sicknesses, bad planning that has left families on the verge of, and sometimes losing, their house and possessions.  When you build a financial plan, it’s not done until you make it self-completing.  Let’s break down some key areas:

You need a will. 

This is non-negotiable.  Your will plays a vital role in ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes, your children are taken care of according to your wishes and your medical decisions are taken care of according to your wishes.  The biggest culprit I see in delaying the execution of these documents is the inability to decide on a guardian for children.  To that I say, would you prefer a family court judge that you have never met make that decision for you?  I have incorporated a legal company named Trust and Will to create a simple will, living will with health care directive and power of attorney.  You can utilize them through my link here.

Should you need higher level planning, or feel you need a trust, I have developed attorney relationships around the country to satisfy those needs as well.  If you do have a will in place, be sure to periodically review to see if any updates are needed.  Along those same lines, ensure you are reviewing your beneficiary designations on your investment accounts.   

Life Insurance

Your plan may look great on paper, but if it’s not self-completing it’s not a plan.  Life insurance can come in many forms, but at its core, use it to protect those you love.  Whether that’s paying off the mortgage, paying for college education or providing a lump sum to generate income, life insurance needs to be a part of your financial plan.  I’m proud to have my life license and to be an independent advisor in that space.  I do business with close to 20 different companies around the country and work with some of the best insurance specialists in the country through the Fortis Agency.  If you don’t have life insurance, please reach out to me so we can get you started on the right track.

Disability and Long-term care insurance

Let me repeat, your plan may look great on paper, but if it’s not self-completing it’s not a plan.  Approximately 1 in 4 of us starting at the age of 20 will go through a disability that impacts your job for at least a year.   Approximately 70% of us will need some form of long-term care after the age of 65. 

If you are a W-2 employee, group long term care coverage is extremely affordable and should be added to your plan during open enrollment.  If you are a business owner like me, then you should explore purchasing private coverage and/or adding a group plan if you have enough employees.  These are all areas that Birds Eye can help you with. 

I often hear from people that they assume long term care coverage is too expensive without even exploring the possibility.  Sometimes it is too expensive, or you are fortunate enough to be able to self-insure against the possibility.  However, often times clients have found the premiums and the structure of the contracts very beneficial.  The bottom line is, whether your able to add long term coverage or not, it needs be part of your estate planning discussion.

 Estate planning is an integral part of a proper financial plan.  I might even go as far to say, without a plan for what I’ve discussed above, you don’t really have a financial plan.  Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that when an unexpected life event happens, being prepared with a plan can be an enormous blessing for your loved ones.  There is enough sadness and stress at the time, adding financial and family issues on top of that is a terrible thing to have to go through.

Feel free to share this with anyone you think may benefit.