I recently met a man whose father died suddenly in IL, where he grew up. He was on his way home from the monument to CA. The man shared his father, who suddenly fell ill. A few days after he was admitted to the hospital, they called and told him to get there as soon as possible. When he arrived, he said his father had taken four breaths and passed. I could see the shock and lethargy in this man’s presence from the experience of his father’s death. The man said that his parents were not hoarders by any means, but that he felt overwhelmed by his sadness and the prospect of walking through the house and getting his father’s business done one last time.
In an article by Lawrence R. Samuel Ph.D. In Psychology Today titled “Death, American Style” (*see link below), Dr. Says Samuel: “Over the last century, death and sex have struggled to be the number one unspoken topic in America, two of which are our shame and embarrassment when it comes to all bodily matters. gone, I think most would agree; the former is now the leading unrest, discomfort and anxiety in this country.”
I am surprised by the shyness of our cultures about death. We celebrate and plan the birth. When planning to have a baby, we reach the best doctor we can, read books about pregnancy, organize the baby’s arrival, and prepare the nursery. Wouldn’t it make sense to plan for death in a similar way?
Both will happen organically, but definitely with a bit of planning and training, both can go much more smoothly with no plans or care for you and your family.
Here are some basics to consider.
1. Gain a will or trust
2. Create a power of attorney or power of attorney (see my previous article on this topic)
3. Create a Living Will, Health Guide, or “Five Wishes”
4. Consider pre-planning your Funeral, Memorial or Celebration of Life
5. Communicate your plan to your family or appointed trustee
Even a humble person needs a confidence or willpower. A trust or will communicates your wishes and shows how your property will be legally distributed at the time of your death. Depending on the laws in your state, a trust can save your family 3-10% on probate court and attorney fees, not to mention the time it takes to go through the process that can take months or even years.
Will: A written statement stating someone to manage your property and how you will distribute your property in the event of death. You must sign, date, and bear witness to your will.
Holographic Will: A will made entirely with your own hands.
Confidence: It is a legal instrument in which a property is held by one party for the benefit of the other. Any type of property can be held in a trust. Trusts can provide benefits in estate planning, asset protection and taxes. It’s important to research probate and estate planning laws in your state and find out if a trust or will is appropriate in your situation.
Irreversible Trust: Once you have placed the property in an irrevocable trust, you cannot reclaim the property. For all intents and purposes, this property is now owned by the trust.
Revocable Trust: Your property is placed in the trust. You can revert the transfer by removing the property and ending the trust.
Power of attorney: Authorizes a designated person to act on your behalf in private, commercial and legal matters. You can show how much authority the person you designate has and in what circumstances he or she has the right to act on your behalf. (See article on power of attorney)
The Health Directive, the Will to Live, or the Five Wishess:
An incredible amount of money is spent on end-of-life care in the US. A sufficient number of these resources are not included in the end-of-life plan.
A Health Directive or Living Will is a legal document that specifies what actions should be taken for their health if a person is no longer able to make decisions for themselves due to illness or incapacity.
An alternative to a Health Directive or Will of Life is the Five Wishes.
Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:
The person you want to make health decisions for you when you can’t make them.
The type of medical treatment you want or don’t want.
How comfortable do you want to be?
How do you want people to treat you?
What you want your loved ones to know.
“Five Wishes It’s changing the way America speaks and making plans for end-of-life care. More than 23 million copies Five Wishes In circulation across the country distributed by more than 40,000 organizations. Five Wishes It meets legal requirements in 42 states and is useful in all 50 states. Fill online and print for $5.”
Most people want to keep assets in the family – and avoid huge piles of money to make wills to lawyers and courts. Additionally, they want to keep the peace in the family. Creating an estate plan and forwarding that plan to the person who agrees to handle your business.
Be sure to consider seeking legal advice.
*Lawrence R Samuel Ph.D.’s article Link to “Death, American Style” in Psychology Today