When was the first time you participated in a fire drill? Likely, it happened when you were very young. Performing fire drills in schools is incredibly important. It allows schools to identify any problems with their plan and helps to create patterns that can easily be followed in the event of a real emergency.
There is one major life event that we all must face, death. It is difficult and uncomfortable to talk about but, we will all die one day and each of us will leave behind an estate that our friends or loved ones will have to settle.
We prepare for many events in life. It helps us to be ready when the real thing happens. Did you have a rehearsal for your wedding? Have you ever done a dry run of a procedure at work? Did you ever play a scrimmage to prepare for a big game?
Whether there is an unexpected event that leads to your passing, or a long illness that allows time for preparation and closure, it is a good idea to prepare now while you and your loved ones are clear-headed and are not suffering from the emotional duress of loss.
So, what would an Estate Drill look like?
- A few of the primary people who will be handling your Estate could include:
- Close Friends and Family
- Your Financial Power of Attorney
- Your Health Care Proxy
- Executor of your Will
Note: Many of these roles will be held by the same person but, it is important to go through the drill with the primary representative and at least one contingent in the event that the primary is unwilling or unable to perform necessary functions.
- Pick a date and time and set aside a few hours
- Be prepared to access your Estate Documents, Trust Documents, Letters of Instruction, and any other important documents or files you think you may need.
- Plan some things to bring comfort and help a difficult conversation be a little easier (food, drinks, music, etc.).
- A computer, tablet, or notebook for taking notes.
- You may want to bring a checklist or questionnaire to aid in the discussion.
- The Conversation Starter Kit https://theconversationproject.org/starter-kits/#conversation-starter-kit
- Advance Directive Forms https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/free-printable-advance-directives/
- 30 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It's Too Late https://www.beyondtheinterview.com/article/2018/30-questions-to-ask-your-parents
- An Estate Planning Checklist from your Attorney or Financial Advisor
9 Questions to ask in an Estate Drill:
- Where are all of the legal documents? Power of Attorney, Will, Trusts, etc.
- Where is the money located? Bank accounts, Investment Accounts, Life Insurance, Annuities, etc.?
- How do I access it? Do I need a key to a lockbox, a master password for a password program, a list of passwords, etc.?
- Who should I call? Family, Friends, Clergy, Employer, etc.
- Who can I ask for help? Financial Advisor, Attorney, Funeral home director (if you have pre-planned your memorial).
- What about your legacy is most important to you? What should I do no matter what?
- What are you comfortable with me changing if the situation dictates it?
- What or who should I look out for? What problems might I encounter?
- What haven’t we covered yet that you would still like me to know?
It is never easy to have these sensitive conversations but, you and your loved ones will be thankful that you did. When you are going through the emotional trauma of losing a loved one it is challenging to think clearly enough to gather these documents and take care of things. Preparing for it ahead of time with a drill will help to answer questions and handle preparations to ensure that it is a little easier when the time comes.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Any named entity, Pinnacle Wealth Management, and LPL Financial are not affiliated.