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Getting Your Estate In Order

February 17, 2022

Within a few months, we had one client pass away, two clients require skilled nursing, and one diagnosed with cancer. In all but one case, the people appointed to handle their finances were unprepared for the tasks ahead.

Let’s be honest, dying is difficult to discuss and, in some ways, incapacity even harder. Yet it seems a disservice not to speak to those you are trusting with your money.

In the case of the deceased, his wife had her own health issues. As an aside, we had urged the husband to consolidate his accounts but he was reticent to do so. A brother and niece stepped in to help. No one knew where to find the paperwork, if accounts were still active, etc.

In the situation dealing with capacity issues, the first case involved unacknowledged declining mental acuity and in the second case it was sudden. In both cases, money was needed for their continuing care but no one had access to the funds except the owner of the accounts – the incapacitated party.

The most obvious action is to have a conversation with your agent (through the Durable Power of Attorney – DPOA) to handle your financial affairs and/or your successor trustee. At minimum, provide them with a list or tell them where you keep your list of the following items:

  • Name of your attorney
  • Name of your financial advisor
  • Insurance information (long-term care policy, disability insurance)
  • Estate documents
  • List of your account numbers, institutions, etc.
  • Any login information they may need to access your electronic information

Give them the opportunity to ask questions.

The most recent client diagnosed with cancer is doing a wonderful job of discussing the situation with her children, updating her trust documents, etc. Financial Connections is working her attorneys so beneficiary designations and account titles are correct.

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