The last thing we want to think about is dying. But imagine passing away suddenly, leaving your loved ones unsure as to how they’ll afford to live now that your income has stopped, fighting over what to do with your money and possessions, or even keeping you on life support when you’d rather go.
It happens every day.
Regardless of who or how much you’re leaving behind, please accept the 100% guarantee that you will eventually exit this world in your current form, and immediately implement the following:
Have the conversation. Spare your loved ones the anguish of having to think about what you’d like in your final days, and just tell them. Burial or cremation? Flowers? Memorial Fund? If it’s too tough to discuss verbally, write it down and add to #2.
Prepare a list. My grandfather’s final gift to my grandmother was a document he created with every pertinent detail she’d need, including insurance information, contacts for his pension fund, all bank account numbers as well as logins and passwords (this genius taught himself how to use the internet - at 84 years old! He traded stocks online until 2 months before he died at 96. You can teach old dogs new tricks!). Grandpa’s document was so detailed that Ma didn’t have to do anything but act.
Create two Wills. The first document will dictate who is to acquire your assets and personal possessions (car, home, art, clothing, etc). If you wish to leave certain things to charity, state that as well. An executor, the person who will implement your final wishes, should also be named (NOTE: notify the executor of their pending role before you pass!)The second document, a Living Will, lets all parties know how you are to be treated in dire circumstances, i.e. keep you on life support, donate your organs, etc.
Take stock of any gaps. If you have a mortgage or car loan, do you want that paid off at passing? If others rely on your income, will they be able to maintain their lifestyle without you? If financial gaps exist, consider adding up to 10 times your current annual income in term life insurance.
By creating a solid and known plan, you ensure that the only thing your loved ones will have to focus on is the most important of all: missing you.
And so it is.