No one wants to think about their own death. But ignoring the issue won’t prevent it from happening. Instead of avoiding the inevitable, take the time to prepare certain basics. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also make things easier on your loved ones after you pass.
1. List Your Debts
While you may not be responsible for your debts after death, it is important that your creditors find out about your change in status. That way, any debts that will not be collected can be recorded as uncollectable, and any debts associated with assets can be managed should your family or friends wish to handle the costs to retain the assets.
2. Get Assets Together
Any savings and investments also need to be recorded. This includes where the accounts are located, and any pertinent details for identifying the accounts and contacting the company that holds them. Upon death, someone will likely have a right to these assets, so it is important they know where they are.
3. Don’t Forget Your Utilities
Similar to the debt list, you should also list contact information and account details for any services like cable, cell service, and utilities. This makes it easier to manage the cancellation of services after your death, especially if you do not live in the same area as the relative who may be managing your estate.
4. Get a Will
A will is a document that allows you to express where you want your assets to go. This can include the aforementioned savings accounts, as well as any personal belongings and other property. Without a will, your heirs may have to wait a significant amount of time before the estate can be settled. It may also lead family members to argue over who should have what. Much of the disagreement can be settled if a will is available.
Often, a will is also the document that will help determine who will care for any surviving children.
5. Plan Your Final Wishes
If you have a specific idea regarding the treatment of your remains, it is best to plan for these in advance. Often, you can make arrangements with local facilities to ensure your needs will be met after your passing. Otherwise, you can include documents that give your loved ones guidance regarding how you would like things to proceed.
6. Check into Life Insurance
For anyone who provides a significant amount of care to another person, having life insurance may be necessary. For example, the primary earner in a household should have enough life insurance to provide for the other household members for a reasonable time period. Depending on the size of the household, and the ages of those therein, the amount needed may vary. Insurance professionals, such as those at LifeNet Insurance Solutions, can help you choose a plan that will fit your needs.
7. Arrange Pet Care
While most people plan for the care of their children, many forget to have a plan in place for their pets. Even if you don’t formally include the information in your will, it is a point that should be discussed with potential caregivers to determine any course of action upon your death.
8. Have an Emergency Contact
Another important point is to have suitable emergency contact information maintained by your doctor and the local hospital. That way, should something happen while you are under the care of a physician, they know who to inform.
9. Consider a Bucket List
Many people have heard of bucket lists, but not everyone has one. A bucket list includes activities that you would like to do before your death. Often, this can give you a set of goals to work towards, and events to look forward to.
10. Say “I Love You”
Don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life today, whether they are friends or family members. None of us know how long we have, so don’t leave anything as important as an “I love you” unsaid.