What to Prepare Before You Die - Our Guide

Death is not a question of “if,” but “when.” Refusing to think about it does not do anything to stop your inevitable march towards the grave. But what will you do about the loved ones you leave behind? How can they rest assured while you rest in peace? Here are the things you will need to prepare and think about before you die:

 

1) Draft the contents of your last will and testament

 

Avoid future bickering among the people you leave behind by writing a last will that clearly specifies who receives what. On a blank piece of paper, write down the properties you will most likely leave behind: your house, your car, your bank accounts, and everything else that your loved ones will find useful. Then, think of the people whom you want to inherit these material possessions. If you want more than one person to inherit your bank accounts and other items with monetary value, you should clearly write how much each person should receive, whether it’s 50:50 or some other form of division. However, material possessions aren’t the only things you can secure with your last will. If you have children, you can spell out who gains custody of them in the case that something happens to you.

 

2) Identify who your will’s executor and witnesses will be

 

A will without an executor is only as useful as the paper it is written on. Thus, you need to identify someone whom you can rely upon to enforce your will. That person is called an ‘executor.’ [1] An executor could be a friend, relative, your probate attorney, or an organization such as a charitable foundation. The executor may or may not be an heir to your property, so you have to discuss your executor options with your lawyer. After you die, the court will give the executor the right to handle all affairs related to your property, such as the distribution of the wealth to the heirs you designated and the settlement of your debts.

For as long as you live, your executor can’t touch your property, which is why it is crucial to have one who does not have the motivation to have you die prematurely. This is no joke; wealth can taint even the most devoted saints and revolutionaries. You would also need to have two witnesses who aren’t beneficiaries of your will to have them sign the will under oath. Finally, you need to have the paper notarized by a public notary to go in effect. But before you go to a notary public, you have to consult with a probate attorney to check if the details of your will are legally sound and consistent, and of course, factually reasonable. After all, you can’t let your children “inherit the Earth.”

 

3) Prepare for your funeral costs

 

You can’t pay for a funeral service when you’re six feet under. Thus, it’s important to allocate funds that will go to paying for the cremation, purchase of cemetery lot, and other expenses related to your funeral. This way, your family and friends will be able to breathe more easily.

There are insurance companies that offer death benefits, which include paying for your funeral. For starters, you can apply for life insurance in these companies. The regular premium you pay will serve as the funeral funds that your family can access in the future. For added protection, you can make a contract with a funeral company that allows customers to “pre-pay” or pay for the cost of their services even while they are still living.

Reference:

  1. Government Digital Service. “Wills, Probate and Inheritance.” GOV.UK, GOV.UK, 12 Dec. 2014, www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/if-the-person-left-a-will.
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