Every chance I get I turn to the obituary page. I believe that anyone who goes through all the trouble to struggle through this life, deserves to be recognized for having done so. I look at each picture, read each name, and glance through the always positive words describing their life. Reading the obituaries is a reminder of our own mortality, since no matter our circumstances in life, each of us will one day find ourselves listed there.
We try to prepare for that dreaded day by dutifully creating wills and even trusts, as the experts tell us to do, but my real life experiences in dealing with grieving families have taught me that these are only the basic necessities and often fall woefully short in preparing heirs for the day when everything in your life will suddenly be dropped in their
In helping people prepare for this inevitable event I encourage asking many questions about your life, the same questions a mourning child will be asking in the day when it falls to them. Where are your bank accounts? What bills do you pay, and are they automatically drafted? What properties do you own and are there any lienholders? Do you
have life insurance, annuities, brokerage accounts, or other investments? Who do you owe money to, or who owes money to you? Do you have subscriptions to be cancelled? Who are the key people in your life such as your accountant, lawyer, financial advisor, religious leader or special close friends who would need to be contacted?
Where do you keep all your personal documents, credit card information and tax information, which your heirs will need to assemble to file your taxes. What are your passwords to access internet accounts? Do you have gold bars, cash, weapons or anything of value hidden somewhere? Do you have a collection with the name of a person to call who can help properly value it? Have you specifically promised anything to anyone such as the child who thinks they are getting that grandfather clock?
If you spent an entire day, you would keep coming up with more questions. I have spent many hours with distressed heirs who say, “I wish mom would have told me more.” After you ask and then answer these questions, write it down. I keep a special file my kids are all aware of that lists the answers to these questions and many more, and I update the file regularly. I cannot prevent the headache of an heir managing my estate, but I can do a lot to make it easier on them.
Children don’t like to talk about their parents dying, preferring to pretend that you will live forever. Don’t let them push you off. Insist on having this very important conversation so that when death comes, and it will, they will be able to spend more time celebrating the life you lived rather than spending all their time struggling with the messy details left behind.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
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