Estate Planning: Don’t Delay

Estate Planning

The death of a spouse is heartbreaking, pulling at the very fabric of one’s family. While the death can be either sudden or the result of a lengthy illness, most of us are unprepared for the incredible stress, hassle, and costs of dealing with the aftermath. Chanel Reynolds, a Seattle widow and mother of two, knows firsthand about these hassles and manages a website for others to get their affairs in order.

Getting your financial and legal affairs in order before you need them is the key. Ms. Reynolds’ experience of managing her husband’s affairs after he died in a biking accident prompted her to help others. Her website, bluntly titled “get your s*** together“, focuses on outlining the major documents you need, including wills, living wills, and power of attorney. There are also checklists for other important pieces of information, such as account numbers, passwords, and the like that are necessary for others to know if you should pass away unexpectedly. If you hold financial savings in products like an IRA or an annuity, be sure to include those details as well. Your family must be able to access these things after your death.

Ms. Reynolds’ husband had not prepared a will and she spent thousands of dollars straightening out her family’s affairs. She knows first-hand the pain and stress of ‘cleaning up’ after someone and encourages everyone to take care of those they love by being prepared with their own financial and legal documents. You can prepare much of the needed documentation on your own, without a lawyer. Additionally, there are online and off-the-shelf software programs designed to help you in the process. The time and money invested up front is far less expensive than leaving it to other family members to straighten out.

Source: National Public Radio

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