Death is one of life’s constants, so why don’t you prepare for it? When you leave, you might not have any care of the world anymore. However, your family might still need to settle your affairs, pay debts, or even fight your estate.
Make it your last gift to them by giving them peace of mind after your passing. While you still can, plan your death well with these tips:
1. Plan Your Estate
If you have considerable assets, you need to consider doing estate planning. Fortunately, the federal estate tax exemption as of 2019 is high at $11.4 million. It means that you get taxed only for the excess amount.
The federal estate tax is different from the inheritance tax, which kicks in when your heirs are about to receive your assets. The good news is more states don’t impose it anymore.
What if you have a lot of assets that amount to over $11 million? You can reduce that in different ways, such as donations to charities or gifts to family members. Your beneficiaries can also use the proceeds of the life insurance to cover a part or the entire tax due.
2. Decide How Your Funeral Is Going to Be
One of the biggest sources of contention among bereaved family members is what to do for your burial. You can save them the hassle and even save for the funeral costs by knowing what you want:
- Do you like to be buried, or are you considering direct cremation?
- If you want to be cremated, would you like your family members to spread your ashes? Where?
- If you want to be buried, do you already have a plot?
- How long will your funeral service be?
- Do you wish for specific people to attend the interment?
- Do you have religious preferences?
Funerals are expensive, especially in the United States. It could range between $7,000 and $12,000. Many funeral homes can already offer packages or plans you can pay in installment, so your loved ones have nothing to worry about.
3. Get Your Will and Health Directive Ready
Probate is a legal process of determining the validity or authenticity of the will. If you don’t have one, this step can take weeks or even months since the court-appointed administrator still has to find all the possible legal heirs of the deceased.
Further, the heirs won’t receive the assets right away. Instead, the administrator ensures that all financial obligations, like taxes, have been settled first. If you don’t want them to go through this process for a longer period, draft a will and update it as often as possible.
Besides a will, you also need a health directive. It’s a document that assigns a person who will decide on your health (such as treatment or procedures) when you can no longer think soundly yourself.
4. Think of Your Children
If you’re a parent, you certainly don’t want to leave while your kids are young. But the future is not in your hands. The next best step is to secure them even when you’re no longer around:
- Decide who will take care of them if you’re a solo parent. You can name the person on the will.
- Set up a trust fund for them if they’re still a minor. They can use the money for their education, for instance, later.
With these ideas, hopefully, you can help lessen the financial burden and the grief your family has to go through when you’re no longer around.