Passing away is something we don’t like to think about, especially when you wonder how your loved ones will do without you when you are gone.
Deaths and accidents are inevitable, and even though it’s scary to think about, it’s a fact we need to come to terms with. Passing away is never something you choose to ponder on, especially when you wonder how your loved ones will move on without you and if they are going to be okay. But you can make things easier on yourself and ensure that you get things in order before the time comes. In the United States, 68% of Americans pass away intestate and leave their loved ones wondering what is next for them, and causing a lot of family misunderstandings. That’s not what you would want for yourself or your loved ones. If so, here are a few steps to consider to ensure that all your affairs are taken care of when you are physically incapable of doing so.
Prepare Your Last Will and Testament
Your will is perhaps the most important document as it spells out your wishes after you pass away. It contains essential information such as who your executor should be, who is entitled to a share of your wealth, and if you have any underaged children, who their guardian should be.
You can draft a will by yourself, but that could present many problems down the line. Your will could potentially be invalid, especially if you fail to provide your signature or if you have no witnesses present. You might also forget some of your properties and fail to allocate them accordingly. Furthermore, if you already have an existing will and forget to revoke it while preparing a new one, it might be challenging to determine which one supersedes the other.
On the other hand, writing your will can be quite advantageous. You can make sure that all your properties are distributed as you wish, and it is more cost-effective as you would not be required to pay any legal fees.
It would be best if you prepared your will with a lawyer present. Lawyers are more familiar with local and national laws and ensure that your document is valid. They are also useful when you have a lot of assets and finances to designate, although in such situations, you might need a small team of lawyers. You can also prepare a living will that includes information concerning what should happen to you if you are severely ill or incapacitated. You will need to have trusted people who can serve as your powers of attorney. They will handle all aspects of your decision-making, whether financial or medical. Preparing a will is a must. How you would like to go about drafting it is entirely your prerogative.
Get Life Insurance
When you start to have a family, you will quickly realize that you need to get on a life insurance policy. You will be comforted in knowing that your family members will be taken care of when you pass away. Getting a life insurance policy will protect your family, especially those used to a particular standard of living. Your funds can go into your children’s education or into a trust that they can access when they are at a certain age to keep them financially secured. It will also help your loved ones to cover expenses incurred after your death, such as funeral and medical costs. It can also be used to clear any other debts.
The good thing about life insurance is that these days, it is relatively inexpensive to get one. However, monthly premiums vary depending on the type of insurance company and other factors such as your age, health, and policy length. So, it would be best to shop around before deciding where you would like to get a policy. Anything can happen at any time, so now is the best time to get life insurance. The sooner you start, the better.
Plan for Your Funeral
You can make final arrangements and preparations ahead of your funeral that spell out how you would want your burial to be like. You can even donate your organs or body for medical research. Communicate with your family members through writing or any other means about your plans. If you prefer to be buried, you can purchase a burial plot at your local cemetery. If it is a cremation you want, you can contact a local funeral home to discuss and make preparations. Additionally, you can set aside some funds for your funeral. The average funeral costs between $7,000 to $12,000. That is quite a lot of money that you probably would not want to burden your loved ones with. There might be several other things they also have to deal with in their personal lives.
Communicate with Your Loved Ones
While you might have a will that spells out your plans, you must talk face-to-face with your loved ones to eliminate any doubts and ambiguities. That will reduce any conflicts that might arise once you pass away or are incapacitated since there is not much room left for their interpretation.
Your conversations with your loved ones do not have to be solely centered on the tragedy. You can also use it as a time to bond with them and share exciting stories and memories from your past. It might also be a fantastic time to pass on any photographs or meaningful items or tokens to your surviving relatives. Your loved ones will appreciate your effort to keep the peace.
However, keep in mind that this conversation might be sensitive, as everyone might have their thoughts and fears about the future. You can make it easier by having another person who will support you and have all the necessary information and answers. You can also pick a venue that is meaningful to all of you. It might relax them and let them open up to this uncomfortable conversation.
Protect Your Online Life
We are in a digital age. Therefore, you are more likely to have some presence online, whether it is through social media or other online activities like banking. But who will take care of these accounts once you pass on? For example, Facebook allows you to memorialize your page by appointing another user to run your account for you. However, if you do not wish to do so, you can request that they delete it when you die. Otherwise, your Facebook and other social media pages can become a place that people visit to remember you. You can compile a list of all your accounts and passwords and give them to a family member you trust. Whatever you want them to do with these accounts is entirely up to you.
Gather and Store All Documents
You must gather all the essential documents and store them in a safe place for your loved ones. If they do not know these documents exist, they would not claim them, and any valuables, including funds, would end up going to the state.
Your essential documents should include official certificates (marriage or birth certificates), property deeds and titles, proof of vehicle ownership, the contact information on your attorney, medical practitioner, and even insurance company. You can put these documents away safely and entrust them in the care of a trusted loved one or lawyer.
It would be best to gather all your debts and expenses, such as credit card bills and mortgages. To make it easier for your family members when you pass away, you can include one member in your bank account so that they can fully access your funds.
Review and Update Your Beneficiaries
A beneficiary is a person that is entitled to receive money or funds from a benefactor. In your situation, you will be the benefactor while a member of your family is the beneficiary. You must regularly update your beneficiaries on important policies or accounts. Experts recommend doing so every two to three years while you are alive. This suggestion is relevant based on the fact that several changes could happen within a short period, such as marriage, new children, and even divorce. It could also be because your beneficiary might have changed their names or contact information. The last thing you would want is to give your funds to the wrong person.
Set Up a Living Trust
A living trust is an excellent way to avoid paying estate taxes and ensuring that your assets are quickly distributed. It is also great if you want to keep your financial information private. When you get a living trust, you will have full control of your properties until your death. Once you pass away, your successor takes your position and will distribute your assets based on your successors. This method saves a lot of time and money. A living trust can also protect your assets from any creditors or lawsuits.
We all wish to live a long full life. So, more often than not, the thought of leaving the people we love behind or not being able to spend time with them can be scary. However, it is essential to take the necessary steps to ensure that they can carry on in life without you.