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Getting your financial life in order now can help avoid conflicts and disagreements within your family when you die.

Your financial estate has the potential to become a contentious issue among family members after your death. When you add the impact of grief and the pressure of taking care of your final arrangements, what might normally be a minor disagreement can escalate into a major dispute.

Depending upon your financial situation, it’s generally wise to get assistance from an attorney, financial planner, or reliable estate-planning software program.

Why Do It
1. A durable power of attorney for finances will allow the financial agent you have chosen to handle your money if you’re unable to do it yourself.
2. A will or living trust ensures that your assets will be distributed in an orderly way according to your wishes.
3. You can also transfer bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts directly to whoever you wish, outside of your will or living trust.

If You Don’t
1. Without a financial power of attorney, your family may need to have you declared legally incompetent before they can take care of your financial affairs.
2. Without a will or living trust, a county judge will appoint someone to distribute your assets according to regulations of the state in which you reside.
3. If you don’t make your intentions clear to your family regarding who gets what and why, there could be misunderstandings and lingering tension about how you divided your estate.

Financial Issues
Debts and other liabilities
Direct transfer of assets
Durable power of attorney for finances
Estate planning
Life insurance
Safe deposit box
Will or living trust