Earlier this year, Julie Fletcher, CFP®, received a call from a client informing her that his spouse had unexpectedly passed away. When reflecting on the call, Julie said, “It was an incredibly difficult phone call. I had enjoyed getting to know them so much over the previous years. No matter how difficult it was for me, I couldn’t imagine what he was going through. I told him we would do everything we could from our standpoint to take the stress of the financial issues off of his back.”

In the time leading up to the call, Julie and the team at SH&J had been working to help the couple set up investment management and make sure their beneficiaries were aligned with their estate planning documents in order.

Julie commented, “Regardless of your stage of life, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. When we work with our clients we always make these 3 recommendations.”

  1. Stay Current
    Regularly check your estate planning documents to make sure they are up to date with fresh signatures and in line with state laws.
  2. Confirm Beneficiaries
    Make sure your beneficiaries are in line with your estate planning documents. Your beneficiary designations supersede your estate planning documents.
  3. Communicate Your Wishes
    Have open and honest conversations about your wishes with your close family members. Julie says, “Talking about the inevitable is the hardest part, but it is so important for them to know what you would want.”

Unfortunately, the call came and the difficult conversation ensued including a review of the details and costs regarding the funeral service. Julie was able to attend the service and later talked with her client about his decision to spend additional funds on the service to make it extra special.  “When I talked to him some time after the service, he said he was so happy he spent the money to honor his loved one. The service was beautiful and moving and truly celebrated his spouse’s life.”

In the weeks to follow, Julie and the team followed SH&J’s streamlined process designed to keep things uncomplicated for both the survivor and the beneficiaries.  She coordinated with the estate planning Attorney to execute on the estate planning that was appropriately in place and also worked with all of the beneficiaries to set up accounts to receive money in their names. Julie met all of them when they were in town for the service and has formed ongoing relationships with them even though they are scattered around the country. “I’m honored to have been a part of this process and to serve the beneficiaries who continue this legacy.”

“After we completed the process, I remember our client saying he felt like it should have been more complicated. As if he had missed a piece of the puzzle. I assured him this is how the process should go when you are prepared.”

When a loved one passes away, you want to focus on what really matters. If you are looking for a financial planning team to help make sure your financial plan is ready for the unexpected, reach out today. We would love to be able to help you.

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