Estate Planning for Families: Death & Dying

 In Trusts & Estates

Common Reason #2: I do not want to contemplate my own death

It is difficult to think about one’s own demise, but whether you plan for it or not, eventually someone will need to sort out your estate.  If you do not put a plan in place, state law dictates what will happen with your assets and minor children.  Likely, your intent could differ from state law.*

Many resources and publications provide thoughtful guidance when considering issues of death and dying. Of note:

  • Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
  • On Death and Dying, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
  • The Five Wishes, Aging With Dignity –

Clients must do the work to accept death (or at least the possibility) as a part of life when beginning the estate planning process.

The next step is to contemplate several difficult questions, including:

For everyone:

  • Who should receive your property after you die?
  • Who will manage your estate and any trust(s) after you die?
  • Who do you trust to manage your finances when you are incapacitated?
    • Who will pay bills and file taxes?
    • Who will manage your investments?
  • Who do you trust to make health care decisions if you become incapacitated?

For parents of minor children:

  • Who would you appoint as guardian for your child(ren)?
  • Do you wish to leave assets directly to your child(ren) or in trust until your child(ren) reach a certain age?
  • Do you or your spouse/ partner/ co-parent need life insurance?

* This material is for your general educational information and is not intended as legal advice. Readers are responsible for obtaining legal advice applicable to their specific situations from their own legal counsel.

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