I bet you couldn’t wait to read this article! This site has so many fun and interesting articles about living life to the fullest – and we should – but we should also make sure we have taken care of the business of our death.
Most people don’t want to talk about or plan for their death, but it is inevitable. It is going to happen for all of us and it’s important that we prepare so that our loved ones don’t have to deal with uncertainty and undue stress in an already grievous situation.
Here are a few suggestions when it comes to preparing for your death.
When I ask the question, “Have you prepared for your death?” I am not referring to the emotional and spiritual preparedness of no longer existing. Obviously, those are important aspects of dying, but instead I’m going to discuss the “business” side of our death.
Consider topics such as, Do You Have a Current Will?, Do You Need a Trust?, Have You Made Your Funeral Arrangements?, Do You Have a Living Will in Place?, and most importantly, “Do Your Loved Ones Know the Answers to These Questions? and Do They Know Where Your Documents Are Stored?
I will reserve the first four topics for later discussion. For now, we will examine how to get organized, who should know our personal and financial information and where to keep this sensitive data.
There are two main reasons for getting your affairs in order before your passing. First of all, chances that your wishes will be recognized are much better if you have not only written down what you want, but also communicated those wishes to the appropriate individuals.
In written form, let your loved ones and executor know what type of funeral or memorial services you want, who they should contact upon your passing, what social media accounts need to be closed, what organizations that you belong to that need to be contacted, where your will is located and much more.
The second reason is that you reduce the burden placed on your executor to make decisions and reduce the uncertainty and possible guilt that they carry out their duty as promised.
I know many of you have already planned and made arrangements for when your time comes. I commend you for tackling a difficult subject and thinking about making a stressful time for your family a little easier by being prepared.
For those of you who have not thought about or prepared for your incapacitation or death, start with discussions with your trusted advisors. Valuable information on what your situation requires can be obtained from attorneys, investment managers, bank representatives, tax advisors and your minister, priest or rabbi. Every individual’s situation is different and these professionals will know what documents will best benefit you, both personally and financially.
Conversations with friends and other family members who have planned ahead can also offer ideas on what you may need – and from their experience, maybe even what not to do. Once you have obtained everything you and your professionals feel is necessary, it’s important to organize these documents and keep them in one place so that they are easily accessible to the individual you have selected to be your executor.
During my professional career as a CPA, I saw many individuals who found themselves at a loss as to what their loved ones wanted for funeral arrangements after their passing, they did not know who to contact regarding their death, were uncertain if the individual had a will and had many other unanswered questions.
Often, even when the information existed, it was not stored in an organized manner and sifting through everything was time consuming and frustrating. This gave me the idea of storing personal and financial information on a convenient flash drive with software to prompt users to enter commonly needed information. This would allow that information to be categorized and easily looked up. This system would be ideal for both the individual planning ahead and for their loved ones after they were gone.
Whatever method you choose for organizing your information, begin today to get your affairs in order and keep all of the data in one easily accessible place. When you tackle this project, you should not be thinking about dying, but instead about how you are helping to reduce the burdens on your loved ones after your passing.
Do you have your affairs in order? Are you prepared for your death so that you can focus on living? Is all the data for your family in one place? Please share your comments and questions below.
Tags End of Life Planning