Humans have a 100% mortality rate yet the vast majority of us don’t like to talk about our end of life plans. The upcoming Before I Die New Mexico Festival is working to change this by helping people think and talk about death and dying. If you’re not sure how to get your affairs in order before you die, make plans to attend the Festival and find out what you need to know about getting ready for the end.
The Before I Die Festival takes place October 30 – November 4, 2018 at multiple venues in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Belen, NM. The events are unique and upbeat, with various activities and entertainment focused on our eventual mortality and how to talk about it with family and friends. There will be Death Café conversations, cemetery tours, panel discussions on downsizing, a symposium, and more. Best of all, the events are free or low cost. Check out the full Festival Schedule to see all the planned events.
Plan Ahead Before You Die
One of the most important things to do before you die is to get your affairs in order. Do you have a will? What’s going to happen to your stuff when you die? According to a recent survey, 64% of Americans don’t have a will and the main reason they don’t have one is because they “haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
Don’t let this happen to you. Making time to talk with your loved ones about your final wishes is one of the core themes of the BID Festival. Starting the conversation and making end of life plans in advance can motivate people to get started on writing a will and avoid legal and tax issues after they pass.
Jim Plitz is an attorney at Morris Hall PLLC, a festival sponsor that provides estate planning services, Morris Hall offers straight answers in plain English regarding the financial and legal intricacies surrounding legacy planning and asset protection. Plitz is participating in the Before I Die NM Festival symposium on November 3, which will be held at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico.
Documents to Collect
Writing a will and getting your affairs in order means you’ll need to organize various documents and paperwork. Try to keep everything in a safe, secure place and keep up with changes and revisions if items become outdated. Here’s a short list of the information and paperwork to collect when making estate planning decisions:
- Assets – all the personal and financial items you own: cash, bank accounts, retirement accounts (401K, IRA, etc.), stocks and bonds, land and real estate holdings, life insurance, business assets, cars, boats, jewelry, etc.
- Liabilities – everything you owe: mortgages, credit card debts, student loans, medical bills, taxes, personal loans, business debts, etc.
- Digital Assets – includes all your personal and business digital accounts: email addresses, social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) websites, apps, etc.
It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, rich, or poor, planning ahead and documenting your final wishes provides peace of mind for you and your family. To learn more about the financial and legal aspects of the end of life process, register online and attend the BID Festival panel discussion on this topic scheduled on Saturday, November 2 in Albuquerque, NM.
Why You Need a Will
It doesn’t matter what stage you are in life, having a will is important. Think of all the news stories about celebrities who die without a will – their legacy is left up to the courts and this often leads to legal troubles and emotional anguish for those they leave behind.
A will allows you to choose beneficiaries for your personal property, even if you don’t own very much. Parents should also use a will to name a legal guardian for their children in the event of their death. Deciding who gets to look after your children is a difficult decision but one that needs to be made sooner rather than later.
You’ll need to name an executor for your will. This is an important role, as the executor is legally responsible for executing your final wishes as set out in the will, including distributing assets to named beneficiaries and paying estate debts.
To find out more about the executor’s responsibilities, use this Executor’s Checklist from Gail Rubin’s book “Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things To Do Before You Die.” Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist and the coordinator of the Before I Die NM Festival. She is moderating the BID Festival Downsizing panel discussion scheduled on November 1.
Get Ready For the Before I Die NM Festival!
Get all your questions answered about end of life issues at the Before I Die NM Festival. Register online to attend and get your tickets today. Most of the events are free or low cost, and you can engage with other attendees online using Whova, the BID Festival app: Before I Die NM (password: newmexico). See you at the Festival!