Tax-Savvy Tips

“A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.”

Suze Orman is a financial advisor and America’s leading expert on personal finance. She is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, magazine and online columnist, writer/producer, and one of the top motivational speakers in the world today. When some nagging health symptoms stopped Suze in her tracks, she sought the advice of the experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Without swift treatment, Brigham doctors warned Suze that a tumor on her spinal cord could cause paralysis, which quickly led her to undergo a 10-hour emergency surgery with a 20-person team to successfully remove the tumor.

Suze Orman’s Estate Planning Tips

Hassle-free tips to ensure your assets pass to your loved ones and the causes you care about.

As I sit here and write this, I’m just about to turn 72. I have to say it always amazes me that the older I get, it seems as if time just speeds up. I am sure that this is a phenomenon that many of you have noticed as well. But as the time passes, it brings into focus that now is the TIME to make sure our finances are in order for when it’s not just time that has passed. Therefore, it’s really really important that we make sure that we give our financial documents a serious checkup. Three items that must be in total order are:

  1. It is essential that you make sure all the beneficiaries on all of your accounts are the people you want to be named.
  2. It is essential that, in most cases, besides just a will, you have a revocable trust.
  3. It is essential that you have a durable power of attorney for healthcare and an advanced directive.

I cannot even begin to tell you how important all three of these tips are.

For more great financial advice from Suze, listen to her podcast

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Estate Planning Checklist

How do I start an estate plan?

Use this checklist to help you get organized:

  • Make a list of everything you own—such as real estate, bank and investment accounts, personal collections, jewelry, cars, and boats.
  • Decide who will receive things on that list—your family members, other loved ones, and the causes important to you.
  • If you have minor children, choose a qualified guardian to look after them and name that person in your will.
  • Depending on whether you have a will or trust, choose your executor or successor trustee. This person will be responsible for seeing that the terms of your will or living trust are carried out as you intended.
  • Execute a power of attorney to name the person who will make financial decisions as well as a healthcare proxy for healthcare decisions.
  • Importantly, consult an attorney specialized in estate planning who will create or advise you in drafting a will or living trust, as well as any other necessary documents pertaining to your estate.

This information is not intended as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For assistance in charitable planning, consult an attorney for legal advice or obtain the counsel and services of another qualified professional.