While nobody likes to think about their own mortality, we have all heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Thinking pragmatically, none of us want to place an additional burden on our children or grandchildren and to leave them with a financial mess to unravel, so it really makes sense to have our finances in order in later life.
No two people’s finances are the same – some may feel comfortably well off with a variety of investments to put in order, while others may need to take out a loan several years in advance to cover various costs. According to industry professionals such as Moneybanker, the low interest rates at the moment make loan repayments particularly affordable in 2017. However, regardless of your current financial circumstances, there are some common steps that you will likely have to go through.
1. Talk to those that matter
It is never an easy conversation, but you will feel so much better for it. Explain to your loved ones that it is something that is on your mind, and that you would like their help and support in getting your finances in order. The Funeral and Memorial Information Council offers some useful guidance on how to get the conversation started.
2. Get the documentation in order
You would be amazed how many documents there are. Get them all in one place, and make sure your family knows about it. The documents you need to think about include the following:
– Bank account information
– Savings and investments
– Retirement plans
– Insurance policies
– Power of attorney
– Tax forms
– Contact details for accountant, financial adviser, tax adviser, solicitor, etc.
3. Funeral preparations
Let’s get on to the tricky bit. The average funeral costs more than $10,000, so you do not want to leave your kids with that burden on their shoulders. Consider purchasing, or at least paying for, the plot, casket, headstone etc up front. And for goodness’ sake, make sure your loved ones know you have done so, the last thing you want is for them to end up paying twice! A funeral cost estimator is a handy tool to work out the costs.
As with the above, it sounds morbid, but try to inject some humor and smiles – after all, it’s your party so you should have a say in the organizing! In all seriousness, though, trying to plan a funeral having just lost a loved one is a terrible and stressful experience, so spare your family the pain.
Think about the type of ceremony, whether you want burial or cremation, the type of casket or urn and whether you would prefer donations to a charity instead of flowers.
Nobody says this is going to be an easy conversation, but by taking these steps today, you will lift a weight from your mind, and provide support and comfort to your loved ones when they need it most.
Updated: July 10, 2017