Too often, financial and especially estate planning focuses on the legal, tax and investment structure and forgets to address practical and personal issues. Problems may then occur when a loved one passes away and in the midst of the heartache and grief, with little or no direction, the family is left to make difficult short term decisions about funeral arrangements, followed by the big issues of sorting out the longer term financial picture. What would your family do in such an event? Would they know the location of your most important documents? Would they know who to call for help?
A few years ago, as we worked through the planning process with a new client, the above thoughts really hit home and we were asked to develop a system that would organize and pass along valuable financial and personal information to her family. The attached questionnaire became a guide for her and we believe it can prove to be equally as important to you. We know this task may at first appear quite tedious and time-consuming, but believe you will be glad you did it:
We recommend that upon completing this exercise, you keep a copy with your most important records, and perhaps, provide a copy to a family member or trusted professional advisor. We're happy to store it electronically on our DHGWA Client Portal upon completion for easy access. This document in no way should replace your official will and other legal documents, but can serve as an extremely valuable roadmap for your family.
It is our hope that as part of the information gathering process you will take time to handwrite some thoughts on the final page to make this document truly “from the heart.”
If we can help in any way as you pull this important data together, please do not hesitate to ask.