Big Decisions: Five Ways to Get Your Finances in Order Before You Die

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 1:00 PM | Leave Comment

Although no one knows when they will pass away, it can happen at a moment’s notice and in unexpected circumstances. Instead of waiting until you age to draft a will or finalize certain documents, it’s important to get your finances in order to prevent financial loss from occurring.

By completing the right steps, it will make for a smoother process that benefits those that you love. No matter your age, there is a lot to do if you want to get your finances in order for when you die.

Big Decisions - Five Ways to Get Your Finances in Order Before You Die

If you aren’t sure what steps need to be taken or what types of documents you’ll need, this article will provide a quick guide to help you get started.

  1. Determine the Beneficiaries

    One step you’ll need to take before you can get started on the will is to determine the beneficiaries that you want on an insurance policy or on a retirement plan and list them on each separate document.

    The benefits will immediately transfer after your death, making for a smooth process that prevents the wrong person from obtaining the assets or accounts.

    Since untimely death is a common reality in our world, you’ll want to do this in your early years of being married and having kids so that if you are suddenly taken you don’t leave your family behind in a mess.

  2. Draft a Living Will

    Without a living will, it can make for a complicated and stressful process for your heirs after your passing. Obtain the help from an attorney to draft the will or use a software package. Complete the document by asking two witnesses to sign it, along with using a notary to finalize the draft.

    You might think this is something you need to do when you get old, but as mentioned above, you never know when you might go, so it’s best to be prepared in order to make the financial aftermath of your loss easier on your loved ones.

  3. Update Your Documents

    After you’ve gotten a few documents together preparatory for your death, it’s important to update your documents every two years to make necessary changes.

    Any life-changing events should be noted, which can range from a recent divorce to the birth of a new child. Send all copies to your estate administrator or an attorney so that they are informed of the changes.

    If you create your will or name beneficiaries early on in your life, you need to stay on top of the updates so that should anything happen, all of the information is correct.

  4. Review Your Life Insurance Policy

    To help your family members or dependents stay afloat in the event of your death, it’s important to check your life insurance policy to ensure that a lump sum or extra income is paid. The money can also be used to pay off any remaining debts, which can include a mortgage or school loan.

    The policy can also assist with funeral costs and any extra fees associated with your burial which can lift a huge financial burden off of the family you leave behind.

  5. Secure the Documents in a Safe

    Once you’ve completed the necessary documents, keep all legal documents in the same place in a home safe or in a safety deposit box.

    Inform your beneficiaries or an attorney of the location and how each person can access the documents after your death. Many documents today are digital, but whether you have a hard copy or digital file, you need to keep the documents safe so that they can’t be tampered with, lost, or destroyed.

    And make sure at least one other person knows where the documents are so they can access them after you die.

Passing down your assets and accounts can be a daunting task, but by performing the right steps, you’ll be able to protect your inheritance after your death. By completing the process, you’ll make it easier on your beneficiaries to obtain the benefits while having less taken out in taxes.


This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got her advice for this article from the professionals of Thomson Schindle Green Insurance & Financial Services Ltd., a prominent insurance company in Calgary.

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