“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones-the ones at home.” —Mother Theresa
Estate planning is difficult to talk about. Even the thought makes us face the reality that all of us will die someday. Because we are not able to predict when our time here on Earth will end, everyone must take the time to plan for what happens after they pass away.
When you are married, your death will not only affect your spouse, but also your children, extended family, finances and ultimately could impact them for many years to come.
Finding a licensed financial planner, estate planning professional or financial advisor that can guide you on this planning journey is one of the best things you can do to help prepare for the future.
It’s okay if you are thinking to yourself “I don’t want to think about this” or “I don’t have a lot of money so I don’t need to plan”. Those are all natural reactions to the thought of planning for your death, but they are also excuses.
Many times these excuses prevent us from recognizing that it’s essential to have a plan in place to support those that you love the most at a time when they need it most. It’s a tough conversation, but it is one that every couple needs to have.
Estate planning allows you to come together as a couple and ask the tough questions such as your spouse’s choices for cremation vs. burial or who will take care of your children should both of you pass away. It also lets you talk about personal decisions surrounding life support or power of attorney in medical situations that you may not naturally have.
Even if you have one parent that works, and one parent that stays at home, you each should realize that you play an essential role and equal role in the well-being of your family. The working spouse may not be able to work for many months after the death of the stay at home spouse so careful examination of what type of life insurance you may need to have now to prepare for those situations is important.
All of us want to know that our spouses have the support that they need to grieve without being taxed with making end of life decisions, and financial choices that only add to the stress of losing a loved one.
It’s a morbid conversation, and it’s easy to think that you’ll never have to think about it, but none of us can predict what will happen. Delaying the conversation only allows the “”what if’s” and stresses to grow without resolution.
These conversations are especially necessary if you have children. You need to know who will take your children should both of you pass away. Not putting this information formally into a will can cause potential issues for your family. If no one is designated to care for them after your death, they can quickly become wards of the state while they are grieving instead of being in the comfort of those that love them most.
Although planning for death may feel morbid, it’s also essential to embrace the fact that it is also not about you. It’s about communicating your choices when you don’t have a voice to express them, making sure items are planned out to prevent chaos. It’s giving yourself a sense of peace that you will feel sad, and you will grieve, but you do have a sense of security that there is a plan
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