It can be difficult to think about the future when you're caught up in the bustle of day-to-day life, but as you've heard me say before, one of the most important pieces of your overall financial plan is doing just that, planning for the unknown.
One of the absolute best gifts you can give your loved ones in the event that you should become incapacitated or pass away is the gift of preparedness. We call it the "Family Love Letter.” From contact info for advisors and addresses of property owned, to insurance information and liabilities, it is essentially a detailed document that includes compiled need-to-know information so your loved ones can successfully handle your affairs with minimal setbacks during a difficult time.
As you may remember, I first created and sent the Family Love Letter document over a year ago, and since then I have received substantial positive feedback from many clients that took the time to complete it. They now have a sense of relief knowing that they have left their heirs with a road map to their estate. If you have not completed the letter, I highly encourage you to do so now. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the consequences of not completing the letter up close over the last 18 months of the pandemic, with clients who have lost loved ones to the virus frantically trying to settle their family members’ estate. Completing the Family Love Letter can be a cumbersome exercise, but think of it as a puzzle. If you chip away at it one piece at a time, you will eventually complete it. I recommend completing a few pages a week.
Here are some of our top reasons you should complete your very own Family Love Letter today.
It puts your mind at ease
Most of us at one time or another worry about our family and how they might get on without us. Would they have enough money to carry on comfortably? Would they have the necessary resources to feel supported and safe? Would they even know where to begin? The Family Love Letter helps to put your mind at ease because you can rest assured that, in the event of your incapacitation or passing, the ones nearest and dearest to you would have all of the necessary information gathered together conveniently in one place.
It allows your family time to grieve
Mourning the loss of a loved one is no easy feat. Each of us mourns at our own pace and in our own way, but a common thread is that it's always a challenge. By providing easy access to important information, you're helping to eliminate the wild goose chase your family might otherwise have to embark on, ultimately allowing them to spend their energy mourning instead of stressing out over accounts, insurance, or locating important documents.
It brings clarity
Having a Family Love Letter in place eliminates any uncertainty or confusion. Don't leave your loved ones in the dark. By utilizing this indispensable tool, you're helping to ease the burden on your survivors by providing clarity and helping them put together the puzzle that has been left in your wake.
It illustrates your love
Furthermore, the Family Love Letter helps to ensure that your family understands how deep your love for them runs. It demonstrates the time you took and effort you made to make sure that they were prepared in case of the worst.
When a loved one becomes incapacitated or passes away, regardless of whether it was expected or completely sudden, the surviving friends and family will have a lot to deal with. Unfortunately, this turmoil is often intensified by the confusion that follows over assets and affairs of the deceased, with the inability to locate documents as the cherry on top. Why not do everything you can to prevent unnecessary uncertainty?
As your financial advisor, I believe one of the most valuable lessons I can provide is to stress the importance of preparing for the worst. This document might take some time for you to complete, but the time spent will be far less than that of your heirs in putting together your life puzzle without it. When you complete the Family Love Letter, I encourage you to keep a copy in a location that is accessible to your family, and if you would like for me to have a copy for your file, please feel free to forward one to me as well. If you have any questions regarding the Family Love Letter or would like to continue the conversation around estate planning, please don't hesitate to reach out.