“What If” Contingency Planning

We want to ensure you are thriving, as living a healthy and successful life is truly priceless. Of all the steps that can be taken toward financial security and peace of mind, planning our own death and incapacity is the least popular. Life goals dominate our consciousness, and these goals are often about ourselves. Estate planning is not as much about us as it is about the people and things that we love.

It is important to have a will/trust to protect your family and assets and to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. In fact, a will/trust may be the most important document you ever write.

What happens if you do not have a will is many times the best motivator to create one. You do not want to leave your finances in a way that increases stress and anxiety for those you love, nor do you want the time and expense of finalizing your affairs to be inordinately high. Thinking about these “what ifs” helps illustrate why these documents are foundational to a good financial plan.

Beyond the typical documents, you might also want to consider creating:

  • A letter or video to family and friends.
  • Disposition of digital assets, particularly photos, video and other digital assets.
  • Instructions about funeral and final arrangements.
  • Bequests with specific intention, such as targeting the education of a loved one or a specific person or nonprofit.

To help, we have created a fillable What To Do if I Die Guide. While it may seem morbid, it will be invaluable to your loved ones. Pull it apart from this newsletter, fill it out and keep it in a safe place with your other important documents. Aim to review and refresh it once a year.

Thinking about these broader issues is an important part of passing a thriving financial life on to your future generations. Knowing that you are organized feels good, and being intentional with your plan can help focus you on the life you have.

Over the summer at our Longevity Forum in Charlotte, we spoke about planning your legacy and solidifying your estate plan. We invite you to watch all of the session replays and review the presentations at parsecfinancial.com/longevity-forum.

Let’s prepare for the worst and hope for the best. As homework, please answer these questions:

1. Do I have trusted loved ones assigned to each role below? Doublecheck the ability of the named role to do their duty.
• Trustee (co-trustee)
• Financial power of attorney (FPOA)
• Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA)
• Successor trustee
• Successor POA & HPOA

2. What happens if I am unable to manage my own financial and health care decisions?
• Communicate wishes with trustee and HPOA.

3. If there is a protracted economic downturn, do I have ample liquidity?
• Review cash flow and calculate any forced liquidation of portfolio principal and cross check against fixed income and cash.

4. How much financial information do I want to share with my loved ones?
• It can be high level summary or a more detailed disclosure; ask your advisor for help.

5. What happens when I die?
Complete our guide and keep somewhere safe.

6. Are my loved ones aware of my intentions?
• Create summary of items 1-5 and use as an agenda to discuss with loved ones.
• Make sure the completed guide and all estate documents are easy to access.

As the days grow shorter and end of summer gives way to the next season, give some thought to the topics in this newsletter. If we can be of help to you or someone you know, please contact your advisor.

Rick Manske, CFP®, CFA™
Chief Executive Officer

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