Things that mean very little in a court of law:
- Your memories
- Your mother’s memories
- Your friends opinions
- Photos of you smiling with some of your stuff in the background.
What am I getting at? I want you to face the fact that paperwork is part of life.
You can have a lot of wonderful things without legal documents: love; a nice meal; a beautiful sunset. But, you can’t get legally married, register the birth of your child, or insure your home without them. So, if you’re basking in the glow of a beautiful sunset in your own backyard, enjoying a barbecue, and surrounded by family and friends – there was paperwork involved.
Don’t slack on it. Strive to keep it up-to-date on an annual basis. Neglecting your paperwork can be just as bad for your family life as neglecting a loved one’s birthday.
Go through your files and check up on your:
- Life insurance
- Long Term Care insurance that may combine with life insurance
- Retirement accounts – IRA’s, 401K / 403B, Roth IRA’s
- Savings bonds
- Bank accounts that are payable on death
- Investments (stocks, bonds etc)
Legal documents are too often overlooked and the results can be devastating. Who’s in charge of your stuff if you suddenly pass away. If you haven’t updated your paperwork, you may have left everything to an unreliable friend, or a deceased parent instead of your spouse or adult child. In this case, I suggest that you name a second beneficiary. For our wills, we even have a third beneficiary. My attorney suggested this and it’s terrific. When my father passed away, I didn’t have to update my will. My second choice was already in place. How easy was that?
I know you’re busy, but when you, or your family, are dealing with a major life crisis, you won’t want to spend time thinking about these things. Make a habit of reviewing your important documents on a regular basis so your loved ones will receive the things you labored to give them.
If you need more convincing, check out this ABC news story