Having just walked through the final days of my father, I am reviewing my own planning measures. It is something that we all face, and yet most of us fail to plan for the eventuality of our death. I do have a life insurance policy and a will. However, it’s been several years since I updated my own will. So with that in mind, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to our client’s and reviewers of this blog.
1. Consider who you want your belongings to go to when you die. Is there a friend, niece, nephew, child, grandchild, significant other or charitable organization that you want to receive something from your estate? Sit down a make a list of what you want.
2. Who should handle your estate and make your funeral arrangements? Are they the same person? If so, have you had a conversation with that person letting them know what you want.
3. Update your will if, anything has changed since it was written. You can update using a caudicil or have the will redone completely, if there are too many changes. Make sure you have copies of the will in a safe place and that the person handling your final estate knows where to find it.
4. Make a list of your accounts. List savings and debts. Update annually or as needed. Your executor will neeed to know who to contact and where to go for assets. If you have stock or annuity accounts, retirement funds, make sure to list them too.
5. Consider what you want done with your remains. Do you want a traditional funeral or do you want cremated? Where should the remains be buried, or do you want them scattered. Do you not want any type of service? Regardless of what you want, let the person who will be handling your estate know your wishes. 6. As you plan, do you know how much money will be needed. Funeral costs go up about every year or 2. Do you have sufficient assets or life insurance to pay for the final expenses? You may not have a clue. Most of us don’t price such things. It is helpful to visit a few funeral homes and ask about their fees. Get a good idea of what you might need so your final wishes can be met.
7. You can establish a savings account for final expenses or talk to an insurance agent about purchasing a life policy. Many of us don’t have sufficient amounts in our savings to pay for our final expenses. A life policy is a good way to make sure there is sufficient money to handle the costs. However, a savings is important too as there are often many out of pocket expenses.
Something I discovered going through the process, is that the more you plan, the more you can save down the road. By knowing what you want, the person handling your final requests can plan where to go to purchase items, and how to best stay within a budget.