All too often we are approached by individuals who have recently lost their parent or spouse and are not sure what steps to take. When we try to ask them vital questions about their loved one’s planning, they often are completely lost. For a surviving spouse, their deceased spouse may be the one that handled all the financial affairs and other vital matters. The surviving spouse now feels lost and confused and does not know how to access accounts, find insurance policies, pay the bills…etc. When the parents have passed, children often do not know whether their parents had any estate planning, a mortgage that needs to be paid, a car bill, outstanding debts, life insurance and retirement funds…etc. This causes great stress, turmoil and potential financial consequences that compound on top of the difficulty of losing a loved one.
To avoid leaving your spouse or children in a difficult situation, make sure you talk in advance about what happens when you die. This is a sensitive subject and many people prefer to avoid discussing it. However, avoiding the topic does not mean you get to live forever…eventually you will die, and you can choose now to prepare your loved ones to avoid additional hardship and confusion.
Make sure to inform your loved ones about what estate planning documents you have created, where to find them and how to implement them at the time of your death. Let them know what payments will need to be made in order to ensure that assets do not go into default after your death. Notify them of insurance policies and any retirement plans. Inform them of your personal wishes and any reasons behind specific choices you may have made. For example, if you have a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, explain this choice to your family so that they are emotionally prepared and can understand and respect your wish. Also, if there are unusual or unequal distributions for your assets, take a moment to explain these to avoid hurt feelings and contention between siblings.
This talk may be one of the most important ones that you can have and will provide great peace and comfort to your family in a time of need. We have helped many of our clients to facilitate this discussion with their loved ones by having it in our office with the attorney. This helps to keep emotions out of the process, to simplify it and also creates an important relationship with the firm, helping your children know where to turn for aid and explanation when the time comes.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 888.222.1328.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.