Estate Planning Can Ease Unexpected Financial Strain

The New York Times profiled Chanel Reynolds, a widow who founded a website as part of her mission to spare others from the ordeal she suffered when her vital, 40-something husband died after his bicycle was hit by a van:

“…she was not yet consumed by grief…Instead, the buzz in her brain came from a growing list of financial tasks that grown-ups are supposed to have finished by the time they approach middle age. And she and her husband, José Hernando, had not finished them.”

The New York Times notes that people think about financial products such as retirement accounts, mortgages, and long-term care insurance, but not about what would happen if they were to die suddenly, which is why Ms. Reynolds started a website that offers “ready-made tool kits…for people considering the possibility of serious illness or death.”

Reynolds and her husband and gone further than many people, in that they had drafted their wills. Unfortunately, however, the wills were not signed. With no signed will and no access to accounts because only her husband knew the passwords, Ms. Reynolds faced an odyssey of trying to pull her financial life together. She described it as “a slow death by a thousand paper cuts.” Reynolds told The New York Times that what saved her from having to work right away and did away with the need to immediately sell her house at a loss was the fact that her husband had life insurance.

The New York Times notes that Reynolds’ website might have been called Getyouracttogether.org but that in place of “act” Reynolds used a more profane term.

You can also get help ahead of time to avoid the kind of ordeal that Reynolds faced when you get a Fee-Only Financial Planner to assist you with estate planning.

About the author

Claire Emory, MBA, CFA, CFP®

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