What If I Died?
Using a Daily Money Manager to Plan Like There’s No Tomorrow
Sixty percent of Americans have not done any estate planning. If you have ever been or talked to the executor of a poorly planned, undocumented estate, then you know that this is not what you want to do to your family on your death.
There are several stages to managing your estate. Much of it has to do with paper and, increasingly, digital documents. To have an estate plan, it has to get written down. It can’t just be in your head. Nor is it something to put off. Sadly, we all know those who have died unexpectedly and leave a big mess for their heirs to handle.
Stage 1: Out of Your Mind.
You have worked hard and maybe have family or others that you want to provide for in the case of your untimely demise. You probably have or had some thoughts about who should get what. If you have worked with an attorney (and I am not one), you know that there is more to it than just making a will. There can be a lot of decisions to make, and information to gather. It has to go from your head, onto paper. This is where many people get bogged down. Daily Money Managers can ease the workload and help you get over the hump so your instructions, assets, and wishes are documented. We can help you go beyond a will and/or trust to create a living document to update what you have, where things are, who needs to know, and how to access things online.
Stage 2: Been There, Done That
Maybe you have already created detailed instructions for your heirs. Good for you! How long has it been since you last updated it? Have there been any changes in your life: marriage, divorce, children, property, family feuds(!), or disability of an executor perhaps? At Paper Tigress, we prompt our clients to review and update estate documents and their family roadmap on a periodic basis. Most attorneys recommend a quick review every 3-5 years. You may not know what changes will affect your plan. Sometimes the law has changed as well. We help you keep track of details like insurance policies, bank accounts, car titles, and even accounts and passwords if needed.
Stage 3: Gone, But Not Forgotten
In my mind, one of the greatest services that a daily money manager can perform is to ease the burden for the executor of an estate. Depending on the number of assets and liabilities a person has when they pass, this job can be an overwhelming amount of paperwork and correspondence. It often falls on an already grieving family member, who may have difficulty overcoming a very natural reluctance to put it off. Unfortunately, there are deadlines. By having a Paper Tigress involved, the process is more organized and can be completed more expeditiously. This is often a time of going through stacks files or cabinets of paperwork & mementos. It can be difficult for family members to know what to keep and what can be disposed of. We work in the home, alongside the executor, and in collaboration with the attorney and financial advisor, to help get the financial and other matters sorted so life can go on for the survivors.
Having a Daily Money Manager involved early in the estate process (preferably long before someone passes), can mean that information is better documented, and the execution of the estate goes more smoothly. If we are hired by the estate, to assist the executor, we still work as a fiduciary on behalf of the estate. It can be a great team!