It's Fall - A Time to Prepare!

James R. Moore, CPA (Sep, 2019)

The warm, sunny, and fun days of summer are over. Now we turn to the crisp cool days and changing leaves of fall. With fall, many of us have created checklists of items to prepare for the upcoming winter months. This entails closing up camps, winterizing vehicles, making sure snow blowers are working, raking leaves, cleaning gutters, servicing furnaces, as well as stacking firewood.

We focus on getting all of these necessary tasks done before the first snowfall and holiday gatherings. Fall is also a reminder, and excellent time, to focus on financial as well as estate planning items that are important to us all.

Your annual fall checklist of things to do to may need to be expanded to include a review of the following:

  1. Your Will – this written document controls the disposition of property at death. This is also used to designate the guardian of minor children.
  2. Power of Attorney – this instrument designates an individual to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.
  3. Health Care Proxy – a document used to appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
  4. Living Will – an expression of your intent about your health care, including your wishes of whether you want your life to be artificially prolonged.
  5. Life Insurance – is there a sufficient death benefit to meet the needs of your family?
  6. Disability Insurance – is there sufficient coverage in the event of a permanent disability?
  7. Beneficiary Designations – these designations control the disposition of the underlying assets upon death, not your will. These designations are included on IRA accounts, 401(k) accounts, and life insurance contracts.
  8. Return on investment accounts – the average long-term rate of return on investments can make a significant difference in your retirement. For example, $100,000 invested today at 5% would grow to a balance of $432,194 in 30 years. Instead, if this same $100,000 is invested at 8%, the account would grow to $1,006,266.

Please give your Dermody, Burke & Brown advisor a call to further discuss any of these important matters. We will work closely with your attorney, insurance professional, and money manager to assist in your financial and estate planning matters.


The information reflected in this article was current at the time of publication.  This information will not be modified or updated for any subsequent tax law changes, if any.

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