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End of Life Planning Part 2

by Kylie Johnson

Planning a Memorial

As your loved ones age, it’s important to know how they want to be memorialized and buried.

While many people still prefer solemn, formal funerals or mourning ceremonies, others are beginning to lean more towards parties and celebrations of life.

Knowing the kind of memorialization that your loved one wants will take the decision making off your shoulders when the time comes to carry out their wishes. Detailing these wishes as part of a legal document will ensure that your loved one is honored and memorialized as they want.

If you’re concerned about the cost of funerals, create a funeral plan at a funeral home. You can work with the funeral home to prepay for all funeral costs, so your family is not burdened with the responsibility of figuring out how they’ll pay for your loved one’s funeral.

How to do it

Find your state on this list from the Funeral Consumers Alliance. Depending on your state’s law, you may be able to make a legally binding document guaranteeing that your loved one’s wishes are carried out. Some states grant the health care proxy (named in the advance health care directive) the power to make funeral decisions for the deceased.

Distributing wealth and assets

According to the AARP, 60 percent of U.S. adults don’t have a will. Without this proof of your loved one’s financial wishes, control of their assets goes to the state they live in, which will distribute it among their family per state law.

A last will and testament solidifies your loved one’s wishes for how their property and wealth gets distributed after their death. Not having a will to go by can leave family members feeling slighted and resentful at their share of the loved one’s assets.

If they want to donate to a cause, a business or a university, the will can accomplish that. A will may also state that the deceased wants to establish a charitable trust in their name, distributing out their money over time to certain individuals.

Getting your loved one’s financial affairs in order will decrease the stress that the family has to feel later.

How to do it

Talk to a lawyer about setting up your last will and testament. Come with ideas on:

  • Who your loved one’s executor will be
  • Who your loved one’s beneficiaries will be
  • What your loved one wants to leave to them
  • Guardians for their minor children if they have any
  • Two witnesses who will attest to watching your loved one sign the will

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