I recently tweeted an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled Five Steps to Prepare for a Decline in Your Financial Cognitive Ability. The article points out that, although we easily consult health-care providers with respect to our physical health, we may have more difficulty recognizing our limitations and changes in our financial health. As we live longer lives, the likelihood of mental and cognitive decline increases, and accordingly, the need for a plan with respect to how to cope with such a decline increases as well.
During the holidays, many of us host and attend family gatherings, which may provide a good opportunity to discuss your plans and wishes with your loved ones, at a time when everyone is together in a relaxed, low-pressure environment. While such conversations are not always easy, they are a necessity to ensure that your wishes will be carried out, and that your family will not be stressed in attempting to discern exactly what your wishes are.
The first of the five steps suggested in the article is to talk to your spouse to ensure that both parties are in agreement with respect to your financial plan. The second suggestion is to organize your finances as clearly and simply as possible. If your finances are spread out over several banks or institutions, consider consolidating accounts. At the very least, it may be wise to create an inventory of all accounts, investments, and assets so everything can be easily located and accounted for.
The next step is to review your Will and your Power of Attorney for Property, or if you do not yet have either of these documents, arrange to have them prepared by a lawyer. With respect to your Will, ensure that you have clearly thought out your choice of executor, the bequests to beneficiaries, and anyone you may be leaving out. With respect to your Power of Attorney, of course, the most vital element is that you choose a trustworthy Attorney.
The fourth suggestion is to assign roles to your family members. This involves asking the individual if they would be willing to assume the role you have selected, and communicating within your family with respect to who will be responsible for which tasks. By having this conversation in advance, and explaining the reason for your choices, you may be able to avoid any surprised or hurt feelings at a later date, based on who has, or has not, been selected for a particular role.
The last suggestion included in the article is to seek professional assistance and advice from a lawyer and/or a financial professional. They can help you feel comfortable with the planning you have put in place and give you, and your family, peace of mind.
Thanks for reading.
Listen to Valuations and Appraisals
Ian celebrates the 100th episode of Hull on Estate and Succession Planning.
He discusses the question of valuations and appraisals and how these affect estate mediation.
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Listen to Initial Estate Meetings
This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana discuss how important it is to be prepared for an initial meeting with an estate lawyer.
They have also been listening to and reading David Maister’s new (audio)book Strategy and the Fat Smoker and continue their conversation on The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.
Today’s blog, which is part of my series this week addressing preparation for trial in a contested passing, deals with several issues regarding evidence at trial.
Rule 52.04 of the Rules of Civil Procedure deals with the marking and numbering of exhibits at trial. Where appropriate and practical, a joint book of documents simplifies the use of documents and the marking of exhibits during the trial. With a joint book of documents, the Judge, the Registrar, each counsel and the witnesses only need to refer to one set of documents, rather than to multiple sets of documents. Depending on issues of admissibility, exhibits can be dealt with by marking each volume as an exhibit or each specific document, within a volume, as it is dealt with.
Listen to Preparing for Trials in the Context of Contested Passing of Accounts
In this podcast, Craig Vander Zee and Paul Trudelle discuss trial preparation considerations in the context of a contested passing of accounts.