Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are those of our Money Momma Jamie.
As the holiday season kicks off we all look forward to time spent with our families and friends. We buy and wrap the perfect gifts for our loved ones, envisioning the smiles on their faces when they tear into the wrapping. It’s a time to celebrate the end of a year and think about getting things ready for the year ahead. One of the best gifts that can be given to you and your loved ones as the year closes is a review of your finances and estate plans or Last Will and Testament.
In a world where everyone has a “Right Hand Man”, there is no question that a Financial Advisor’s is an Estate Attorney. In fact, these people are so important to your financial team that the second question I ask when meeting a client for the first time is “do you have an Estate Attorney?” The reason why is that a Financial Advisor handles your wealth while you are alive. If something happens to you, the courts need clear, written instructions on how to proceed or things could get very messy…even if your liquid net worth is $0. Thankfully I have found a very talented and patient estate attorney to work on my own documents and am proud to introduce a Money Momma’s “Right Hand Man”, Marc Ackerman, to our RocklandNymom.com readers.
The first thing you need to know about estate plans or Last Will and Testament is that everybody has one. Let me say that again. Everybody has one. It’s just that if you do not have one written the courts have one for you. Here are some more facts Marc has to share about why estate plans/wills are so important:
- It is the best way to ensure that a spouse, family, friend, or even a pet is taken care of.
- A will allows you to appoint an executor who you trust to carry out orders. Without one, the courts will appoint someone who knows nothing about your family or your wishes.
- A Last Will and Testament is the overall plan for distribution of property and wealth. This does not always mean financial wealth. A will allows you to select sentimental items to leave to certain people. Even if you feel as though you have nothing to leave, that is not the case.
- A Last Will and Testament is different from a Living Will. A Living Will dictates your wishes in the event you should become incapacitated. Everyone needs both.
- Everyone needs these documents, regardless of net worth.
Since an Estate Attorney is a Financial Advisor’s right hand man, imagine my shock when I realized MY OWN Last Will and Testament was outdated and that my Living Will had never been written. I immediately called Marc Ackerman and said “you’re not gonna believe what I need.” Thankfully Marc is the most patient and calm attorney I have ever met so he simply replied “I’ll send over the questionnaire right now.” To make the entire process as smooth and productive as possible, Marc has a special questionnaire that he sends ahead of time to make certain the important questions have been thought through. Who gets the children if anything happens? What assets to we wish to leave R and which do we wish to leave S? Are there any charities we want to support? At what age are R and S old enough to have control of their inheritance? Many families have thought about these topics but then it all seems so overwhelming. The questionnaire helped us stay focused and ensured we had adequate time to discuss things prior to Marc’s arrival for our meeting, which helped speed up the turn around time.
Another thing I like is that Marc comes to a client’s home. This means I did not have to transport my financial documents, drag around my outdated Will, or even get out of my yoga pants. We sat around our dining room table talking through the process while Marc asked questions to make sure we had all the details and wrote up documents right there while Todd and I ate Chinese food. There was nothing intimidating about the process at all! Only a short time later we were sent drafts of both the Living Will and Last Will and Testament for our review. Thank goodness for a Money Momma’s Right Hand Man!!!