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Have You Been Discussing Estate Planning Details with Your Family?

03/01/11 | Dana LaRieal Morales

Ok lets take a poll, how many of you currently have all of your life's important papers?  Okay let me be more specific...do you have any of the following in place?

  • A will 
  • A living will  
  • Life insurance

I know this may seem like a morbid topic, but ignoring it doesn't make the need for it go away.  If you have anything of worth (a car, home, china, jewelry, furniture, etc.) you should have a will....definitely if you have a child you should have a Will.  

This piece of paper makes things a lot easier for your loved ones in the event of your passing and ensures things are handled the way you want.  

As a military brat, it was (and still is) common practice in our house to discuss the "what if's".  We never thought of death as a topic not to discuss because we talked about it all the time.  We talked about it so much that my mom has practically planned her own funeral, I just have to make it happen.  

I made sure that things were handled in the case of my passing when I was single and then redid it once my husband and I got married.  We don't want to be a burden on our family...because I'd like to think they'd be so upset they couldn't think straight...(see how our humor is a little off??)     

Ok so on a serious note, how many of you know someone who was in a serious car accident or was affected by a hurricane, tornado or wildfire?  I can add many things to this list.  The point is, what if any of these devastating life events happened to you?  

Would your family know your wishes?  Do they know whether you want your organs donated or not (and don't say it's on the back of your license)? Do you want to leave it for someone else to decide whether you live or die...whether you are fed through a tube for the rest of your life or not?    

What about your funeral expenses?  Do you want to burden your family with having to come up with $6,000 - $8,000 extra dollars to bury you?  As hard as it is to think about, it is vitally important that you handle these things while you can and that you have an honest and open conversation with your family about your wishes.  

Think of it as your last act of kindness at your family's biggest time of need. I also recommend that you begin to gather all the vital records and important papers together to ensure you and your loved ones can find them when needed.  Preparing ahead in the case of an emergency goes beyond having random fire drills in your home, you have to think and plan for life's unexpected events.  

You can't predict everything that is going to happen in your life and you certainly can't stop or dictate it.  The best you can do is prepare as much as possible and ease the pain of those around you when it does.  If you need help identifying those key records and information, contact me for a discovery session.