Getting Your Affairs in Order Before You Die

Jul 2, 2018 | 1 comment

Cemetery GravestoneNo one likes to think or talk about their death, but it’s an undeniable fact of life. It’s especially important that those with a family get their affairs in order while they are of sound mind and body. While having life insurance is a great starting point, there’s much more that can be done.

Your Last Will and Testament

Don’t leave your loved ones wondering what you would have liked for them to do with your property after you die, and you might also need someone to take care of your children if you pass before they’re able to take care of themselves. Your last will and testament leaves no doubt when it comes to this part of the equation. Work with a professional estate planner to draft your last will and testament, and make sure you name your executor, which is the person you’ll depend on to carry out your desires. Once you’ve got your will and testament, revisit it every few years in case you need to update it.

Gather All Legal Documents and Essential Papers in One Place

You can also make things easier on your family by letting them know where they can find your legal documents. For instance, collect your birth certificate, marriage certificate, the location of your living will and other related documents in a single place. The same applies to such financial records as your sources of income, insurance information, recent tax returns, car title/registration, safety deposit box location and key, investment income and liabilities. It’s good to speak with an attorney to know what specific documents you need.

Give Someone Power of Attorney

Should you ever become incapacitated and unable to take care of yourself and handle your affairs, you’ll need someone to do it for you. Giving someone you trust wholeheartedly power of attorney means that your bills will be paid, someone will make medical decisions in your stead and that there will be no doubts as to the type of health and medical care you’d like to receive if you’re, say, in a coma.

Name a Guardian

Your young children will need someone to provide for them should you pass before they’re no longer minors, so you’ll need to decide who will be a suitable guardian for them. This person should be someone who has your children’s best interests at heart, has a good relationship with them and has a willingness to raise them. Once you decide on this person, be sure to talk with her or him so that individual knows that there’s a chance she or he might become the legal guardian to your kids.

On a related note, you might need to make special arrangements if you have a special needs child. Talk with a legal professional with experience in this area, not only for your chosen guardian’s sake, but also when it comes to asset planning with special needs children, who might also need Medicaid or Medicare, both of which can be negatively impacted if you leave all your assets to a disabled child.

No one knows the minute or the hour that they’ll leave this earth, making it vital that you as well as your loved ones are prepared. Start getting your affairs in order, and make sure those closest to you are aware of the steps you take as well as your desires after you’ve died.

Wonder what you as an executor will need to do if you are handling someone else’s affairs after they’ve died? Download the free 50-point Executor’s Checklist, featured in KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die. Fill in the form below for instant access.

A Good Goodbye