Death; a subject we don’t like to talk about. Not only does death cause emotional grief, it can also create stress and additional financial tragedies if not planned for properly.
Talking and planning for death is not ‘morbid’ and it shouldn’t (we understand how it is) be awkward. It can in fact be liberating to talk about death and what you would like to happen when you pass. This can be relieving for family members and friends, knowing they are honouring your wishes. This will give you peace for later life.
We have compiled a ‘death checklist’ (for want of a better phrase) of things to consider when planning ahead. These include making a will, setting up an LPA, planning your funeral, organ donation and much more. We will cover this in a two-part blog. Below is part one!
Death Checklist: Part One
1. Have the ‘in the event of my death’ chat – “Death is the destination we all share; no one has ever escaped it. Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs
‘Death’ and ‘dying’ are not topics we are particularly good at discussing. For some reason, despite none of us escaping it (as Steve Jobs rightly said), we avoid talking about death at all costs.
Perhaps death is such a taboo subject nowadays because we are living longer? People now live far longer thanks to advances in medicine. In the UK, men aged 65 can expect to live to 84 and women to 86.
What if we remove the stress and unease that families and loved ones can experience because we don’t talk about death? We don’t know what people may want in the event of their death if they don’t say. When someone passes away, without having discussed death or recording any wishes, assumptions creep in and it can result in family conflict; as we discussed in another blog.
2. Make a will – Put simply, everyone should have a will. Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, engaged, or have a long-term partner, own property or have children; you should make one out.
When you die, if you don’t have a will, you will have no say about what happens to your assets (money); with those you care about losing out.
Ensuring you have a will in place not only provides peace of mind and relief for yourself, but also security for your family in the future.
For more in-depth information on why you should have a will, and writing your own, check out our blog article: Why Everyone Should Have A Will!
3. Recording your wishes and key information -There is no set way of planning ahead, but it is certainly something to consider. It may seem hard in the short-term, but long-term it can save much stress and worry.
By recording your wishes, firstly, you will have peace-of-mind now knowing that people have been made aware and should honor them.
Recording your wishes means there will be fewer opportunities for argument and indecision when you are no here to clarify something, such as information about your funeral arrangements.
Your survivors will not have to worry about doing the ‘wrong thing’ or trying to locate key information; such as investments, pensions, banking, who you’d like to care for your pets or where your will is kept, for example. You will have told them exactly what you would like.
4. Over 50’s Plans & Life Insurance – If you’re an older generation and reading this, life insurance could likely be very expensive for you. Moreover, your children may be past the age of relying on you, so it may not be as relevant. It may therefore be worth considering an Over 50’s Plan.
However, if you’re younger, life insurance is worth considering if you have children.
Standard life insurance policies become more expensive the older you are, especially when you’re over 60. They’ll also take your medical history into account
A useful source to read is the Life Insurance guide from Moneysavingexpert.
5. Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – Discussing the possibility of losing our faculties is not an easy conversation; or a situation we like to think about. But the reality is, if you were to suffer a stroke, serious accident or dementia without something being in place first, it would likely make the situation worse.
If for example, you lose mental capacity, your relatives cannot simply just take over your everyday tasks, such as your banking, paying utility bills and making decisions on your behalf. They need consent and power to do.
Even if the money is for your care, they cannot simply access your bank accounts without authority. Unless you’ve a Power of Attorney, loved ones would need to apply through court, which can be long and costly. To find out more about what an LPA is and how to set one up, check out our blog!