last will and testament paper with pen and reading glasses

Planning for the Inevitable: How to Prepare for Death

Death is an inevitable part of life. Whether or not we dread it, we must accept that death is where all of us are headed. While it is something you may not want to think about, you should start to get everything in order now, to make things easier on your loved ones and yourself. This is how you do it.

Write your last will and testament

Through your last will and testament, you are deciding what happens to your dependents and assets after you die. This document designates the guardianship of your children, what happens with your property, and names who will carry out your wishes.

You can draft your own will, especially if you do not own a lot of property. There are even online wills you can use to make your own, although they are not a one-size fits all solution. The will should be signed by at least two witnesses who are not included in the will, and notarized by a notary public. To avoid any complications, it is best to talk with your lawyer.

Designate a power of attorney

The power of attorney assigns a person as the attorney-in-fact, who will attend to your financial and legal matters while you are unable to handle them yourself. This comes in handy for when you fall ill or are incapacitated later in life. The power of attorney expires when you die, and the control over your affairs shifts to the executor of your will.

The forms used for designating a power of attorney varies by state. You can do it yourself, as well, by getting a document from the same services that offer online wils. However, it is still best to consult with a lawyer.

Prepare a living will and a medical power of attorney

A living will document with pen and attorney name plate

A living will or advance healthcare directive outlines what you want for medical care in case you cannot speak for yourself after an accident. A living will form lets you designate the medical care you want to receive, and if you want any organs to be donated.

Each state has different living will forms and guidelines. Most of them requires at least two witnesses and notarization. Have multiple copies of the accomplished living will. Keep a copy for yourself, and give a copy to your physician, a family member, your lawyer, and your healthcare agent.

The living will does not cover all medical procedures, so you need a medical power of attorney for the rest. This designates a person to make medical choices for you that are necessary but not covered by the living will. The guidelines for a medical power of attorney also differs by state, but most require you to name a medical attorney-in-fact on your living will.

Organize your insurance and finances

Organize all your finances so your heirs will find what they need. Let them know about your insurance policies and retirement plans. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to claim them, and the funds will go to the state. So, gather up and keep your various policies together.

If you do not have an insurance policy, you should get a life insurance policy to cover your salary, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and all your finances after you die. There are also companies that sell final expense insurance to cover medical expenses, probate fees, and funeral and burial expenses to ease your family’s financial burden.

You will leave your loved ones mourning when you die, and the loss will be heavy on them. You can save them a lot of trouble and lighten their burdens by preparing for your death early on. This way, you can share with them some of the peace in which you will rest.