Dying is something many people don't like to think about. Our own mortality can leave us to feel unsettled, and the grief a death can cause on loved ones is heartbreaking. Sadly, everyone will die at some point; no one is immortal, no matter how much you might wish for it.
But one thing that can ease the burden for family members is knowing that you have communicated your wishes and even put plans into place to assist those you leave behind can be of any assistance.
When it comes to planning life after your death and organizing your affairs, where do you start?
Your last will and testament specify what happens to your property, who raises your children, and who is your executor after you die. If you don't own much property, a simple will may suffice.
Making a simple will on your own has its benefits and drawbacks. Drawbacks include outdated data, state tax issues, and how they handle specific trusts. For example, online wills are a "one size fits all" solution that doesn't always account for real-life situations. Make sure to consult with estate attorneys to have all the legalities ironed out so you can be confident your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death.
If you are able, do you want your organs to be used to save the lives of others? This is a personal decision, but knowing what you want and informing your next of kin if this is possible can save some tough questions in what will already be a distressing time. Make your decision, tell loved ones and be confident they know what you want when you pass.
Again, another personal decision is if you want a burial or cremation. It is a huge burden at a distressing time to have to make some decisions, and knowing what you want beforehand and even arranging it personally can be a blessing in the midst of grief.
Your options include finding a burial plot and funeral home or take care of the details and pre-pay if possible. Alternatively, work with a funeral director to arrange a creation. Typically funerals cost around $6,000, so you can decide if you want to pre-pay towards these costs or not while you can.
Do you know what will happen if you become unable to make sound of mind decisions about your life and care if this is a possibility? This needs to be determined when you are of sound mind, and you will need to create a living will, power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. Choosing someone to have power of attorney means you trust them with your life, and you are confident they can make the best decisions for you.
You cannot always predict when the time will come, and many times, people are sadly gone too soon despite all their best efforts to the contrary. As much as you can, organize your finances and make sure they are in good order. Address your debt levels, make sure your life insurance is up to date, and you know exactly what will happen to your personal belongings, finances, and estate after the fact.