Developing Your Life Plan

Making Sure Financial Documents are available during a family chrisis can save you time, money, and pain

importance of critical financial documents Broussard–a single adult with no children–had a power of attorney drawn up for herself in the event that she become unable to handle her finances. The document would allow a sister to manage her money, including paying bills, handling insurance, and managing other assets. Another sister is named if the first is not able to perform the duties. The same concept applies to her medical power of attorney–a sister would make medical decisions if she could not.

“For singles, choosing who you would have perform these duties can save family dissension and going to court to establish who will be given legal authority to do what you cannot do for yourself,” says Broussard.

The proper combination of wills, trusts, and other financial documents can ensure that assets you wish to pass on to relatives are protected from creditors, and that your estate’s value isn’t significantly eroded because of unnecessary administrative costs and estate taxes. Creuzot says having such a plan is crucial. “We really stress the importance of estate planning,” she says. “It does not make sense to assist clients with accumulating significant assets only to have them die and significantly disinherit their children because 50% of the estate will go to the IRS.”

So consider estate planning as part of your overall investment plan and your overall plan for life. Make sure that your life’s legacy is to create as much value for the next generation as you did for yourself.

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