How Do I Love Thee? On Paper, Online and On Time
In life and in death, let me count the ways that I love thee. Let’s review the beneficiaries, the online accounts, and the papers.
To paraphrase Meghan Trainor, modern philosopher:
It’s all about that signature
It’s all about survivorship
It’s all about that heir, no trouble.
When you love someone, you are told you should have “your affairs in order”.
This is much harder to do than say. What affairs, what is order?
When you have a family, you want to look ahead into a future where you may not be in the picture.
“Yikes, this means I have to pretend I am dead; that makes me uncomfortable and I’ll just hope nothing happens.”
This is a common reaction, due to your present, your past or reluctance to look too far into that uncertain future. I have met many people who think that they don’t need to consider these things, because “they don’t have any assets”, “they don’t have any children”, or all they have are the photos on their Facebook and Instagram pages. But you do, you do! You have your organs, your online life and photos, and your entire financial life to care for and secure.
You may have missed the opportunity to send roses or a sentimental card this past weekend, but here are several steps to take in this next week, to say “I love you” to those special people in your life. I’d like to help you move into action!
On paper: Check your retirement plan beneficiaries at work and for your personal retirement accounts. Do the beneficiaries match up with your current sweetie and family? Just sayin’. By the way, for those of you with older pension plans (could be frozen, or discontinued), check those too and keep a copy of the beneficiary page.) You can keep a paper copy, scan or photograph, then store in your cloud somewhere.
Real life story: This just happened to a friend-her husband hadn’t updated his old pension plan documents when he got married. When he passed away suddenly in 2014, his cousins were still his beneficiaries, not his wife. These cousins were sympathetic, but not all relatives would be as thoughtful.
It is important to create, review, or update important documents (will, power of attorney, health care directives) before any major life transitions. This probably also applies to people who take part in extreme sports, marathons, and those races in the mud. If you are in the military, they will place you in a workshop with your significant other to cover many things like this before deployment.
Real life story: http://cnet.co/1Mn3RPO Yahoo denies family access to dead Marine’s email.
On Time: This has to do with matching your documents and decisions to your actions. Wedding coming up? Do you need to alter your current will and property distribution? Would the laws of your state (and your family) allow your loved one to make medical decisions for you and visit you in the hospital?
Real life story: a relative with a terminal illness lived into the last month of his car loan, so his wife didn’t have to worry about that last payment. This relative also hadn’t changed two pieces of property to be jointly owned with his [second] wife, so altering those property deeds occupied some stressful hours of his last days.
PS For those readers who may have several kinds of pensions (military, Social Security, employer plans), it is important to check the pension payouts with your spouse. For example, will you choose a single life or joint and survivor payout? A single life payout goes for one person’s (the retired employee) life. A joint and survivor payout is calculated over the joint life expectancies of the couple. It is usually less than the single life payout, but it provides a lifetime income for the survivor. See definition of joint life payout from Investopedia here.
If this post inspires you to take action, from creating new documents to reviewing existing ones, you will feel better afterwards. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but the relief generated upon accomplishment will feel wonderful. Plus, your family members will thank you for remembering them. Get from To-Do to To-Done! (Shout out to https://transmutable.com for my first To-Done experience.)