How Can You Share Your Fi­nan­cial “Abun­dance” With Your Fam­ily?

Calhoun Times - - OBITUARIES - De­wayne Bowen

Thanks­giv­ing is al­most here. Ide­ally, this day should be about more than foot­ball and the im­mi­nent ar­rival of Black Fri­day megasales. Af­ter all, the spirit of the hol­i­day in­vites us to be grate­ful for what we have and for the pres­ence of our loved ones.

But it’s im­por­tant to look be­yond just one day in Novem­ber if you want your fam­ily to take part in your “abun­dance.” If you want to en­sure your fi­nan­cial re­sources even­tu­ally are shared in the way you en­vi­sion, you will need to fol­low a de­tailed ac­tion plan, in­clud­ing these steps:

- Iden­tify your as­sets. If you haven’t done so al­ready, it’s a good idea to take an in­ven­tory of all your fi­nan­cial as­sets – your re­tire­ment ac­counts ( 401( k) and IRA), other in­vest­ments, life in­sur­ance, real es­tate, col­lectibles and other items. Once you know ex­actly what you have, you can de­ter­mine how you would like these as­sets dis­trib­uted among your loved ones.

- Get pro­fes­sional help. To en­sure your as­sets go to the right peo­ple, you will need to cre­ate some le­gal doc­u­ments, such as a will and a liv­ing trust. The depth and com­plex­ity of these in­stru­ments will de­pend a great deal on your in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances, but in any case, you cer­tainly will need to con­sult with a le­gal pro­fes­sional be­cause es­tate planning is not a “do- it- your­self” en­deavor. You may also need to work with a tax pro­fes­sional and your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, as taxes and in­vest­ments are key com­po­nents of the legacy you hope to leave.

-Pro tec t your f i nan­cial in­de­pen­dence. If your own fi­nan­cial re­sources were to be­come en­dan­gered, you clearly would have less to share with your loved ones, and if your fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence were jeop­ar­dized, the re­sult might be even worse – your adult chil­dren might be forced to use their own re­sources to help sup­port you. Con­se­quently, you will need to pro­tect your­self, and your fi­nan­cial as­sets, in sev­eral ways. For one thing, you may want to work with your le­gal pro­fes­sional to cre­ate a power of at­tor­ney, which would en­able some­one – pos­si­bly a grown child – to make fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions for you, should you be­come in­ca­pac­i­tated. Also, you may want to guard your­self against the dev­as­tat­ing costs of long- term care, such as an ex­tended nurs­ing home stay. Medi­care typ­i­cally pays very lit­tle of these ex­penses, but a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor may be able to sug­gest tech­niques or prod­ucts that can help.

-Com­mu­ni­cate your wishes. Once you have all your plans in place, you’ll want to com­mu­ni­cate them to your loved ones. By do­ing so, you’ll be spar­ing your loved ones from un­pleas­ant sur­prises when it’s time to set­tle your es­tate. And, sec­ond, by mak­ing your plans and wishes known to your fam­ily well in ad­vance of when any ac­tion needs to be taken, you’ll pre­pare your loved ones for the roles you wish them to as­sume, such as tak­ing on power of at­tor­ney, serv­ing as ex­ecu­tor of your es­tate, and so on. And you’ll also want to make sure your fam­ily is ac­quainted with the le­gal, tax and fi­nan­cial pro­fes­sion­als you’ve cho­sen to help you with your es­tate plans.

Thanks­giv­ing comes just once a year. Tak­ing the steps de­scribed here can help en­sure your fam­ily will share in your fi­nan­cial abun­dance as you in­tended.

This ar­ti­cle was writ­ten by Ed­ward Jones for use by your lo­cal Ed­ward Jones Fi­nan­cial Ad­vi­sor.

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