Talking about mortality makes many people uncomfortable, and that discomfort could contribute to people’s procrastination regarding estate planning. This lack of planning could burden their loved ones in the event that they pass away without so much as a will in place.
The sad truth is that the majority of adults die without any legally-binding documents in place each year. Individuals who take the time to plan for their future passing will control the legacy that they leave behind and can also shield their families from stressful situations and unnecessary conflict.
How can someone properly plan for their future death?
Address obligations and assets
Disagreements about what should happen to someone’s property are one of the leading causes of probate litigation and family conflict after someone dies. Someone who puts together a will can provide clear instructions for their family members about the distribution of their property after they die. A trust can also help govern the descent of resources after someone’s passing.
From ensuring that there are adequate resources to cover personal debts to describing what should happen to specific assets, the terms set in an estate plan can reduce the conflict that arises during probate proceedings and eliminate confusion about who should receive what property. People should seek to address all of their major assets, as well as their financial obligations, in their estate plans.
Talk about medical wishes and funeral plans
A solid estate plan typically includes instructions for someone’s burial or cremation and any memorial service that the family may hold. People may even prepay for those services in some cases. Additionally, people may want to draft living documents that explore what should happen if they become incapacitated. Leaving instructions about healthcare preferences to ensure comfort in one’s final days and empowering others to manage certain personal matters can take the pressure off of loved ones as someone approaches the end of their life.
The more effort someone puts into considering what happens after they die, the less likely their loved ones are to struggle unnecessarily with the details or fight with one another over their deceased loved one’s affairs. Taking the time to create an estate plan and updating it as life changes can benefit both the person creating these documents and the people who love them.