Death is not a fun topic. However…it’s inevitable and everyone needs to plan for it. I personally have experienced the death of my parents. My mother died of Liver Cancer when she was just 51 years old and my dad was murdered at age 73. My dad did not have a legal Will. That cost us, his children, a significant amount of money in Probate fees. A valid Will is critical but it is just one of many important documents.
Having a discussion is the first step of the planning process. When my father was fighting Prostate Cancer, I interviewed him. I asked lots of questions: Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you have any insurance policies? I am glad I had the foresight to discuss these important issues with him, because he was not organized for death. It may be a difficult discussion to have, but it is a necessary one.
You are probably very familiar with the bulleted list below but have you given any thought to your Obituary? I recently worked with a client that told me her father wrote his own Obituary. He had read a good friend’s Obituary and did not think it represented his friend well. This prompted him to write his own. I think this is a great idea! It is one less task for your loved ones to do and fight over! The mother of a longtime client died recently and he told me family members argued over the Obituary. Go ahead and write yours. Your loved ones will appreciate it.
Here is a list of items that I discuss with my clients to see if they are organized for death.
· Do you have an Attorney?
· Last Will and Testament
· Living Will (An advanced Health Care Directive)
· Durable Power of Attorney
· Trust (if applicable)
· Living Trust
· Life Insurance
Have you ever thought about your Digital ‘Afterlife’? Do you want your Executor to handle this or do you want to appoint a Digital Executor? I have a resource below that can help with this decision.
I help my clients prepare an “End of Life” instruction manual for their Executor and loved ones.
· Important Contacts
· Insurance Policies
· Financial Institutions and account numbers
· List of usernames and passwords enabling loved ones to delete online accounts
· Instructions about pets
· and so much more
Here is a list of resources:
Digital ‘Afterlife’ http://www.npr.org/2011/01/10/132617124/after-death-protecting-your-digital-afterlife
Power of Attorney: http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/difference-between-POA-durable-power-of-attorney-living-will-140435.htm
Write Your Own Obituary: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-misner-phd/write-your-own-obituary_b_5009490.html