Railroaders need these six essential documents to get their house in order.
Welcome everyone to the Railroad Retirement Whiteboard. My name's John McNamara of Highball Advisors and today we're going to talk a big topic, six essential documents that railroaders need for their estate. So, you're working your whole life, you're building up all these assets. And you just want to make sure everything goes to plan. I'm a big, let's mitigate risk guy. I don't want things that are going to blow up my plan. You're building the plan together, we're trying to eliminate things that are just going to mess things up, it's going to affect generations to come, and you just want to get these things in order. So I've come up with a list of six essential documents and let's just go through them and see what you guys have and what you don't have, what you might need, or maybe what you don't need.
But I feel like everyone needs to at least look at these six essential and say, "You know what? I probably need that." All right, so we'll start up at the top. Last will and testament. You always hear that, "I'll get will, I'll get a will." Get a will. Because, especially if you have children that will determine guardianships, those types of things, get that done. Assets, maybe you have a house, car, where are things going to go? Very important on assets. And then also, if you don't have it in a will, it goes to probate, it doesn't mean that the assets won't pass, but everything becomes public then. And then you have creditor issues and all that. So everything you want up with the will and testament, get that done, that's the first main thing. Next, the beneficiary designations on all your accounts.
Your 401ks, your IRAs, very important. Check the primary beneficiaries and the contingent ones. Maybe you were divorced, might have your first spouse still on as the primary beneficiary. That doesn't work out really well. Or maybe you have a split family. So just check those beneficiaries, primary and contingent, very important. And then also those beneficiaries can trump what is in the will. So, your 401k beneficiaries are going to trump what is in the will. All right. So beneficiary designations, very, very important. Here's another one that a lot of people don't think of, that's the power of attorney. You can do a springing power of attorney, but when you become incapacitated, who's going to make those financial decisions? Document those things. You never know, you just get it done.
You appoint someone you trust, it could be a spouse or a older child who's an adult now. Everybody gets older, that's reality, maybe your children are going to help you out. So appoint somebody sooner rather than later, because nobody's going to do it one year later and later is too late, if that makes sense. Sooner the better. So power of attorney, all right. And then continuing on that, the healthcare power of attorney and living will. So those decisions that come up as you get ill, those healthcare decisions, once again, you're incapacitated, who's going to make those healthcare decisions? That's what the healthcare power of attorney is going to do is going to help you out. And then living will, so maybe you're already making the decisions before even your power of attorney does.
What do you want to do in case X happens? Unfortunate happens, it's all written down, so that thing's covered. All right. Let's keep moving along here. Just the letter of intent. There's no legal basis for this, no attorney need. At the end how you want everything to wind up, things that aren't legally binding, like memorials and arrangements and things like that. Funerals, those types of things. Just put it in a letter of intent, this is what I want to happen. We're just cleaning up everything. And then finally the list of documents, okay. All your important statements, your passwords, your railroad retirement board information, because you're going to have a survivor annuity. So let someone know where all that stuff is.
So you collected all that, but great, it's hidden somewhere, it's behind a block password wall on your computer or something, nobody gets to it. So your list of documents, tell somebody important to you how they can get all that information. All right. So these are the six things. This is a great building base for you to get started on just putting together your estate plan, things that you can get done. Do you have to get everything done next week? No, but put it on a list, start checking it off. Very, very important. Don't want any drama, so just get it done. All right.
So reach out to me if you have any questions about this topic, it's a must have topic, things to get done. Please subscribe to my channel, my YouTube channel. It's growing, it's fantastic. And give me a thumbs up on the notification so you can get those in your inbox when I put out new videos, usually every Thursday I put them out. Reach out to me for a free railroad retirement assessment, see where you stand as far as retirement coming up for you. In the meantime, everyone, please stay safe, stay on track and take care. So long, everybody, bye.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. Highball Advisors encourages you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved.from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved.