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Have you ever felt anxious about what would happen to your kiddos should you and your spouse pass away? How about this, maybe you’re lucky enough not to pass away, but you end up in a hospital bed without being able to talk, and now your spouse and your kids can access or don’t know what to do with the finances? 

In this blog, I’ll discuss three essential steps you can take right now without creating a formal estate plan that will dramatically improve how you protect your family. 

Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Titleting your accounts correctly.

2. Assign and update your beneficiaries.

3. Have a conversation with your spouse and parents about your end-of-life wishes.

1. Titling your accounts correctly

Titling your accounts correctly is an important step to ensure that your loved ones can continue functioning financially should you pass away or end up incapacitating.  

The first step is ensuring that non-retirement accounts are titled as Joint WROS with rights of survivorship. This step is essential to ensure that your spouse continues to have access to your accounts rather than the account being frozen. Remember your checking accounts as well!

2. Assigning your beneficiaries

Assigning your beneficiaries is an essential step in estate planning that should not be overlooked. Beneficiaries are the individuals who will receive assets from your estate in the event of your passing. It is important to ensure that the beneficiaries listed are up-to-date. 

To assign your beneficiaries, the first step is to take an inventory of all the accounts you have. This includes bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies. Once you have taken inventory, go through each account and assign or update beneficiaries.

When assigning beneficiaries, make sure to add both a primary and a secondary beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary cannot receive the assets.

When assigning your beneficiaries, it is important to keep in mind that you may need to make changes in the future. Life circumstances can change, and it is important to keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date. This includes marriage, divorce, the birth of children, and the death of beneficiaries. It is also important to note that if you do not assign a beneficiary, your assets may be subject to probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

3. Having a conversation with your spouse and parents about your end-of-life wishes.

Having a conversation with your spouse and parents about your end-of-life wishes is an important step in estate planning. It is important because you do not want to place that decision on anyone, and most importantly, you don’t want your family to fall apart due to bickering and blaming. 

In conclusion, estate planning is an important aspect of financial planning, and I strongly encourage you to meet with a lawyer to create a formal plan. However, there are steps we can take today without creating a formal plan that will dramatically protect your family should you die or end up incapacitating. 

I’d love to hear how you apply these estate planning hacks to get financial security. Leave me a comment on how it went for you, or drop any questions you want me to answer!