If you’ve taken steps to protect those who depend upon you – such as obtaining life insurance, writing a will, or developing a trust – give yourself a pat on the back. If you haven’t taken those steps, you should. Having a will and/or a trust helps to ensure that your hard-earned assets are distributed properly, and life insurance can help your spouse, children, and any other dependents meet their financial needs if you can’t.
But having those policies and documents is only part of the story. You need to review and update them regularly, because your financial situation – and that of your dependents – changes each year. A will that was perfect ten years ago may no longer address your situation. Your income may be substantially higher than it was when you obtained that life insurance policy five years ago.
You may even need less life insurance. If, for example, your children have finished school and are living on their own, you probably don’t need to worry about providing for them anymore. And if you and your spouse have sufficient assets to meet your needs through retirement, you may not even need life insurance.
So, are all of your documents and policies up to date and appropriate? Don’t guess. These issues are too important. The best way to determine whether you and your loved ones are protected adequately is to sit down with an outside expert who can analyze your needs, determine whether those needs are being met, and counsel you on the right steps to take. If you have an accountant, an attorney, or a financial planner, they may be able to do this for you.