Retirement Guys: The Survivors ChecklistWritten by Nolan Baker Mark Clair | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Homemade noodles! You know which ones I am referring to, right? The homemade noodles that were made by a favorite Aunt or Grandmother that spent days rolling out the dough with love knowing that everyone would be anticipating their cherished dish at the upcoming family gathering. As a child, I relished the days when we packed up the car to head to Aunt Lois’s house. I knew within hours I would fill my plate with her wonderful homemade pasta. Sure, to the average person, they’re just noodles, but to me, those noodles meant so much more. It meant seeing my family together, hearing my Dad’s laugh, jumping in the hot tub with cousins, and receiving dozens of heart-felt hugs from Aunts and Uncles. My cherished “noodle maker” was my Great Aunt Lois. Thanks to this wonderful, thoughtful lady, I have many memories that I am blessed to reflect back on from my childhood. Those cherished memories came flooding back to me this past Tuesday when I learned of the passing of my Great Aunt Lois.
Luckily, Aunt Lois experienced a long and blessed life. Her passing comes as a necessary reminder that death can occur when we least expect it. It’s never easy to accept, but it’s a fact that we all have to deal with at one point. For surviving family members being tasked with gluing all the pieces together after the loss of a loved one is a very overwhelming. Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with these emotions having lost both my Dad (49) and Brother (38) way too early.
My partner, Mark, and I are often asked by our clients to help them with the process after losing a loved one. We take a personal responsibility to help out during this difficult time. Along with meeting with a financial and legal professional, we recommend following our checklist a family should do when a loved one passes.
First, surviving family members need to take some time and go through the grieving process. Avoid being rushed into making any major decisions. The immediate items that need to be addressed are reviewing what the wishes were for the deceased. Also, the family or a representative will want to deal with the funeral home, contacting other family members and friends, and caring for any pets. In the first few days, cancel any upcoming appointments or any regular assistance services, such as Meals on Wheels or any doctor appointments.
After the immediate items are addressed, several things should also be done in the first 30 days. I would recommend that a financial inventory is created. Set up a file system that can be used to track all incoming correspondence. Don’t just pay bills or liabilities without getting professional advice. Create a list of the names, account numbers, type of account, and the contact information for each investment account and insurance policies. If the person had a financial professional, ask for help in putting this inventory all together. Just remember, I would recommend that before any paperwork is completed a good understanding of the process, taxes, and results are reviewed. Once the paperwork is completed and processed, it may be hard to undo any election after the fact. So create an inventory, but make decisions slowly.
Last, if you are a surviving family member, know when you are in over your head and ask for help. Even if you are put in charge, it is not your responsibility to do this by yourself. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a lot to handle. I realize the desire is to take care of the wishes of the loved one, but know that getting professional help along the way, can not only make the journey easier, it can sometimes be the best answer.
I have posted the Survivors Checklist on our website www.RetirementGuysRadio.com. All of our readers are welcome to download it. The Survivors Checklist is our gift to you in memory of my Great Aunt Lois. I would recommend that you print off the checklist and this article and keep it at the front of your important papers.
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 PM on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysnetwork.com. Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. NEXT Financial Group, Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537. 419-842-0550