Employee Communications: The Importance of Employee Estate Planning

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I had the sad task of attending my husband’s cousin’s funeral this past weekend, and it really brought to light the fragile nature of life.

Dave (my husband) and his cousin were born in 1961, and would have been celebrating their 50th birthday together this year. Even worse, he leaves behind a wife and two sons who are in shock — both emotionally and financially.

There were so many unanswered questions at the funeral: How much life insurance did he have? How much is left on the mortgage? What kind of bills need to be paid?

As the primary breadwinner and the one who took care of the day to day finances, he took these answers to the grave and had never discussed these issues with his family. I’m hoping he left his family well-prepared, but wouldn’t it be better to already know?

Many workers have the bulk of their life insurance through an employer-sponsored policy, but do the spouses know about it?

One great solution is to help educate both employees and their spouses on the basics of estate planning and the coverage available to them through their benefits package at work.

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I have facilitated a multitude of Estate Planning workshops on-site where we review the mechanics of the group life benefit, disability coverage, group LTC policy, and the necessary documents needed for a good estate plan. These documents include a health care directive, power of attorney, a will, and possibly even a living trust.

Frequently, employees have access to these documents through an employer-sponsored pre-paid legal plan or as an added benefit of an EAP but do not know about it.

So check out your schedule and mark the calendar for an after-work session to make sure both your employees and their families are familiar with the insurance benefits offered, and are well-prepared if they need to face the crisis of losing a loved one.

This was originally published on the Financial Finesse blog for Workplace Financial Planning and Education.

Linda Robertson is an experienced financial planner with FinancialFinesse.com, the nation’s leading provider of unbiased financial education programs to corporations, credit unions and municipalities with over 400 clients across the country. Her focus is on retirement and tax planning, and her background includes positions with NationsBank, H & R Block, and Metropolitan Life. Contact her at linda.robertson@financialfinesse.com .