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April 1, 2011 – Death and taxes are certainties in life, and Gail Rubin, “The Doyenne of Death,” suggests five simple steps to relieve the stress related to these unavoidable prospects.
“April 15 comes around every year. We get much more practice preparing our taxes than organizing memorial services,” says Rubin. “Death and taxes are inevitable, but we’re not so familiar with funeral planning.”
Rubin, author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, offers these five tips to reduce the stress of these two certainties of life:
1. Deal with it: Neither the Tax Man nor the Grim Reaper will wait when the appointed time comes. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead.
2. Plan ahead to save money: Smart taxpayers look at all the angles for making the most of deductions before the end of the year. Smart consumers pre-plan their funerals so they know the substantial costs involved and can figure out how to afford a meaningful “good goodbye.”
3. Collect important information: Taxpayers who place all their W-2, 1098, 1099 and other tax forms in one place make it easier when it’s time to file. Have one place for the will, advance directives, veteran discharge papers, personal information, and people to contact – it makes it much easier having important information all in one place.
4. Keep good records: Knowing your income and expenses for the year simplifies accurate, complete tax preparation. Knowing a person’s birthplace, social security number, mother’s maiden name, family contacts, and other information can save family members much stress at a time of grief.
5. Make it meaningful: Charitable contributions made before the end of the year can help reduce taxes while helping the taxpayer’s favorite causes. Discussing preferences for an end-of-life celebration, before there’s any death or illness, gives family members helpful insights to create a meaningful ceremony when the time comes.
Gail Rubin speaks regularly to groups on getting the funeral planning conversation started. Download a free planning form from her website, www.AGoodGoodbye.com, where A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die is discounted from $21.95 to $15.00 plus $3 shipping until April 15, 2011.
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