Not many Kent residents derive pleasure from thinking about their inevitable death. This is not a particularly popular topic among families but it is very important. Those who make plans regarding their estate planning ahead of time can give their families the gift of peace of mind.
When a family works out estate planning details prior to their death they are giving their heirs an amazing gift. The death of a spouse is something not many people want to think about, but when it happens the other spouse can be left not knowing what to do. In order to be prepared for the event before it occurs, both spouses should know what all of the assets are. These assets include life insurance, retirement plans, and who is listed as beneficiaries. A power of attorney for both medical care and financial matters should be established for each spouse.
Grief is an extremely powerful emotion that can hinder a person's ability to make good decisions following a loved one's death. In general, women outlive men by an average of 14 years according to the Census Bureau. In many families, one of the spouses is in charge of the finances which can mean if they die, the other spouse does not know anything about financial matters. Many widows wind up making mistakes, including gifts to adult children which can leave them with not enough money as they get older.
Checklists can be helpful so that each partner knows where certain documents are located and what assets are held. These can include birth certificates, marriage certificates, real estate, safe deposit boxes, trusts, etc. All titles of properties should be located, including vehicles. An estate planning attorney often advises their clients that the time to prepare their estate is when they're well. Taking time to understand financial and legal matters is important in making sure there is a seamless transition after a death.
Source: nytimes.com, "Death is inevitable. Financial turmoil afterward isn't", John F. Wasik, Jan. 13, 2017