19 Mar 2024

Let’s Talk About Death, Baby

March 19, 2024

Let’s begin with apologies to Salt-N-Peppa.  Yes, the title of this post is a thinly veiled reference to their 90’s hit song.  Thinking about this blog, somehow the hook got stuck in my head, and I hope my riff on this classic gets stuck in yours if you need to talk about death.

Solid estate planning is a critical part of your financial and personal life that deserves some periodic attention.  We generally don’t like to think or talk about death, but having your affairs in good order is a tremendous gift for your loved ones, and those who may be caring for you.  It allows them to know that they are doing exactly what you wished.  It also ensures that you’re leaving nothing to chance, or making assumptions that everything will be ok.

Like a solid financial plan, a solid estate plan takes some work, and requires periodic review.  If you own a home, have investment and retirement accounts, and have family members or charities who will inherit these assets, it’s well worth your time to invest in doing the work of pulling together your estate plans.  Healthcare powers of attorney and living wills help ensure that your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated.

If you are sitting on a LegalZoom or other “self-serve” estate package, and assuming everything will go according to plan, you may want to rethink that strategy.  While “wills and estates” are a basic skill for anyone with a law license, you should pick your estate attorney carefully.  You might need to do some “shopping” to find the right fit, consider:

  • An attorney specializing in estate planning with solid reputation in this space
  • Someone with experience, 5 – 10 years in estate planning is a good start
  • Someone who practices regularly in your state and understands any local nuances
  • Someone you feel comfortable talking to and who explains things clearly and patiently
  • Ask about fees as you shop, the fee structure should be clear

Obviously, you can do some internet searches, but you should consider asking others for references too: coworkers, neighbors, other attorneys in your area, financial advisors (hint, hint).  Then you can take these suggestions and use the internet to see if these references meet the basic criteria.  At that point, you can make some calls and do some screening.

Now the real work begins, but a solid, reputable estate attorney will make this part simple and straightforward.  While working with your new estate attorney, it’s important to discuss with them:

  • A basic will
  • The need for a trust
  • Beneficiaries
  • Powers of attorney
  • Healthcare powers of attorney & advanced directives
  • Guardianship of minor children

The nice part about working with a seasoned professional is that they will understand your specific needs, and help you get the necessary instruments in place.  Your attorney will help you execute the documents that are created during this process, and maintain a copy for you, and the people named in these documents.

It’s helpful if your executor, trustee, and power of attorneys have the contact information for your attorney, and you make it clear that your attorney is there to assist.

If this is something you have been putting off, I hope this post is the nudge you need to get the ball rolling!  If you can’t remember the last time you reviewed what you currently have in place, or if you know you need to make at least one change, it’s probably time to consider a refresh of what you already have in place.




Buoyant Financial, LLC is a registered investment adviser located in Charlotte, NC. Buoyant Financial may only transact business in those states in which it is registered, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements. A copy of Buoyant Financial’s current written disclosure statement discussing Buoyant Financial’s business operations, services, and fees is available at the SEC’s investment adviser public information website – www.adviserinfo.sec.gov or from Buoyant Financial upon written request. This note is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as investment advice, or a recommendation to buy or sell securities. 

Leave a comment


Get the ball rolling today.

Some things in life can wait. You’re future isn’t one of them.

Let’s Talk