Estate Planning: Get Your Act Together

Investing
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By Martin Weil

Learn more about Martin on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor

A client of mine is nearing the end of his life and it got me to thinking, again, about how so many of us, even clients that I have pestered about this for years, have resisted taking care of their end of life essentials.  I met an estate attorney recently who said he had yet to transfer titles of his assets to his living trust, that these had been “pending” for 22 years… This stuff is not physically hard to do, or time consuming.  Denial is a powerful motivator.

For anyone who has not yet put in place the basics (will and/or trust, powers of attorney, medical directives), good news – you may be able to do a lot of this yourself.  A host of websites now are geared to helping individuals plan and execute these important missing pieces in their financial lives.  My favorites:

http://getyourshittogether.org/ – Started by a woman whose husband died unexpectedly, leaving her to sort out her finances with no information

http://www.nolo.com/ – Do-it-yourself estate and other legal documents that should work for many situations

http://www.aboutone.com/ – A new highly publicized site to share important family documents.  They are building a family calendar tool that I think could be a killer app.

http://legacylocker.com/ – Do you know what happens to email accounts when you die?  They are frozen by the provider.  This service aims to give you the means to convey your electronic content – from iTunes to banking accounts – to your loved ones.

 

Related articles:

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?

When the Gift Tax Exemption Ends, Should I Change My Will?

When My Parents Die, Will I Inherit Their Debt?