Imagine that today you pass away. Your loved ones would be devastated, but they would, nonetheless, be called upon to tend to your final affairs – arranging your funeral, managing your final debts, and possibly even having to probate your estate. Will you have left your affairs in complete disarray, or will you have set in place a plan to ensure that your loved ones are able to carry out your last wishes with the least amount of effort?
When you pass away, your loved ones will be experiencing grief. It consists of the emotions and sensations that accompany the loss of someone or something dear to you. Sometimes grief reactions are so severe that they are mistaken for signs of dementia or severe psychiatric illness.
Given the intense effect that grief will have on your loved ones, it is imperative that you create a plan to facilitate the handling of your own final affairs. In addition to establishing an estate plan, it is important that you inform your loved ones of your plan. It is not necessary that you share the its details, but at a minimum, the person you have chosen to carry out your affairs should be informed as to where to find important documents, such as your last will and testament and other financial documents.
Sometimes, it is a good idea that you do discuss the details of your estate plan with your loved ones. If you have chosen to distribute your estate in unequal shares, but you do not discuss this plan with your loved ones, it is likely that your plan will cause hurt feelings and conflict within your family.
You might also choose to establish a prepaid funeral and memorial service. You may pre-pay for your funeral, and the money will be held in trust to cover your final expenses when the time comes. When you pass away, your family will only need to call the funeral home, and your plan will be carried out with the least amount of effort required from your grieving loved ones.
The planning that you do today may prevent rifts in your family tomorrow.
Gina M. Barry, Esq.
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