My apologies for taking a break from the blog. Losing a loved one is still one of the hardest things to survive. Unfortunately, I’ve lost more than my fair share. The passing of my father has hit me very hard. It’s also made me go into overdrive on organizing my death as well. It has also made me want to make people aware of some things that I honestly never knew much about until this.
- Power of Attorney (POA) expires upon death. You cannot get into accounts, safe deposit boxes, etc unless your loved one has you as a joint owner or TOD (Transfer on Death) for these types of items.
- Have beneficiary’s listed for retirement accounts. If you do not, it can go to the estate/probate to pay medical bills, etc.
- Put your property as a beneficiary deed or TOD. Do not just leave property via your Last Will and Testament only. Many states do beneficiary deeds for property and TOD for vehicles, etc. Check to see what states rules apply to you.
- Have a list of ALL of your accounts. All of them. From banking, electric, cable, life insurance, etc. If they have verbal or electronic user IDs and passwords have them as well. Even if you just have this in your safe deposit box, it can save your family a lot of time and costs from certified copies of death certificates and jumping through hoops. And if they can’t get it canceled or get it canceled quickly, it’s just added fees/costs taken from the estate.
- Mark things as sold/expired. If you switched life insurance companies, keep the old document and mark “cancelled on…” and where you transferred to or if you didn’t transfer anywhere and were just cutting costs. Trust me when your family is going through files and they find payments to Company A, then they go through a lot of time just to find out it was cancelled six months ago. Not fun. Very stressful.
- Be sure people know your plan. Not just end of life wishes, but post end of life wishes. I have two people who have copies of my Will, my properties, and my preferences now.
- When you make a Healthcare POA please put a main person and a backup person. If your main person is unable or has passed away you still have someone that can speak on your behalf and you don’t have to go through the expense nor hassle of drawing up new paperwork
- Be over prepared. Don’t assume anyone knows anything. I recently bought the Five Wishes book for $5. Here’s a link to a sample. If you don’t know where to start it will help you.
I hope this helps at least one person out there. I was unprepared for my fathers death in so many ways. He just decided to retire and buy a home close to me so he could spend more time with his grandchildren. Two weeks after we had a definitive plan he went into the hospital and 30 days later I was planning a funeral. Life is short in more ways than we realize. Take advantage of the time you have. –SS