Grief is intense after the loss of a loved one.
Emotions are relatively challenging for many people.
The complexity of grief can be particularly chaotic.
Not only is a loved one no longer present, but the decedent is often someone who would have helped provide comfort and shoulder postmortem responsibilities.
According to a recent Scubby article titled “7 Ways To Ease Your Loved Ones’ Suffering After You Die,” family conflict and legal issues can amplify the stress of the situation.
By taking certain actions prior to death, you can help lighten the emotional and administrative load loved ones will carry after you die.
What can you do?
Create an Estate Plan.
This first step is fairly simple, yet can make a significant difference.
Have a properly prepared, executed, and implemented estate plan.
Otherwise, dying “intestate” leaves your loved ones navigating the courts and the laws of your state when settling your affairs.
With an estate plan in place, you minimize this process through nominating guardians for any minor children, appointing an executor (also known as a personal representative), and designating beneficiaries for your assets.
Maintain a Binder for Documents.
Many estate planning attorneys will provide an organized binder for your executed estate planning documents.
In addition to your legal documents, you also should provide information on credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts, and digital assets (think emails, social media, blockchain crypto, and online banking).
Provide your family and executor with information necessary to access these documents and accounts.
Buy Life Insurance.
Grief can greatly impact how well a surviving spouse can perform at work.
This can in turn affect continued employment.
Whether you were a single- or double-income family, the death of one spouse will affect the rest of the family financially.
Even the death of unpaid homemakers can lead to money issues with the loss of childcare and someone to shoulder household responsibilities.
By securing a life insurance policy before you die, you can provide a financial cushion for your family to continue paying bills, mortgages, and educational expenses.
Life insurance is a “miracle asset” that creates an “instant estate” to support your loved ones, if you do not live long enough to build that estate through work, savings, and investments.
Contact your life insurance agent for a full policy review and financial needs analysis.
Write An Instruction Letter.
Although your estate plan documents your wishes regarding certain legal matters, it is helpful to have a letter of instruction to share more information with your family.
This letter is not legally binding and may revised from time to time.
It is simply a space for you to share your love for your family, your values, your wishes for your funeral, memorial, burial, or cremation.
Many of my clients use a letter of instruction to fill in the details about everything from how they want any orphaned minor children reared to preferred investment strategies for trustees to follow.
Prepare Them Emotionally.
Your loved ones may have a hard time grasping the reality of your death.
Their grief may last an extended period.
Take time to reconcile with loved ones prior to your death.
Share your love for them and let them know you are well-pleased with them.
Taking these steps can take some of the sting out of the loss when you are gone.
Pre-plan Your Funeral.
Your loved ones will be responsible for ensuring you are buried or cremated.
By planning your funeral and making arrangements in advance, you will be reduce the stress about these moving parts right after your death.
Gather Important Documents and Contact Information.
After you die, your loved ones will need to call advisors and friends and have certain documents and information accessible.
Include all of the pertinent contact information for those who will need to be informed of your death.
Common information to gather includes estate planning documents, safe combinations, mortgages, bank accounts, insurance policies, employer information, and Social Security information.
Following these action steps will help you continue support for your grieving loved ones from the grave.
Reference: Scubby “7 Ways To Ease Your Loved Ones’ Suffering After You Die”