In times of death, I often find myself reflecting on the important things in life – family, friends, health. I would like to pretend that financial issues are not important in the grand scheme of things, but I would be kidding myself if I didn’t understand that finances play in to the stress left behind after a loved one passes.
My bankruptcy practice has all to frequently seen a debtor file bankruptcy due to the death of a loved one. There was not enough – or not any – life insurance to sustain the household expenses long term. There was not enough money to bury the loved one. There were insurmountable medical bills associated with caring for an ill or elderly loved one. These situations coincide with a saying that I love: “No one plans to fail. They fail to plan.”
It may seem as though it’s a morbid topic, but bankruptcy can sometimes be avoided by some estate planning, especially with the purchase of adequate insurance. I urge you to speak with an insurance provider regarding health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and long term care insurance. A simple “check of the box” when enrolling for benefits at work could mean the difference between bankruptcy and financial freedom after a loved one passes.
Lynch, Sharp & Associates, LLC can assist in drafting all of the below documents and it is strongly encouraged that any adult have the following drafted on their behalf:
- A Will and/or Trust that explains your wishes with regard to finances and what you would like to happen to your property, even your children.
- A Power of Attorney so that someone may make financial and medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
- An Advanced Directive or Living Will that explains your wishes with regard to medical treatment if you are unable to consent.
- A written list of important information including:
- Names of insurance policies and/or who to contact regarding them.
- All bank and financial account information including account numbers, banks, and contact information.
- All safety deposit boxes should be listed – where they are located and how to access them.
- The log in and password information for all computers, all bills being paid for your household as well as any social networking sites.
- Transfer upon death should be listed on all your vehicles and financial accounts, and copies of all titles or loan paperwork should be gathered.
- Beneficiary Deeds can be useful if your state allows them in transferring real property.
- Some people choose to make a list of friends and family members to contact upon their death.
Many of the documents you need to have in order to file for bankruptcy are the same documents that you need for Estate Planning purposes.
It’s important for you to convey your wishes before it’s too late. Do you want to be cremated? Where do you want to be buried? Do you want a funeral or a celebration of life? Where are your important documents located? Does your family know what you want when you pass?
If you need help collecting any of the above information or would like to discuss your estate planning needs, please contact Betsy Lynch at Lynch Sharp & Associates, LLC. We are here to help!