It’s hard to think about our own deaths, but it can be even harder to think about the people we will leave behind when we die. How will our loved ones cope with the loss? How will our children—even if they are grown adults—manage their grief while taking care of our funerals and settling our estates at the same time? The reality is that the death of a parent can be a huge burden on children of any age. However, there are steps you can take while you’re still alive and well to lessen that burden significantly. Our Texas and Arkansas Estate Planning Attorneys offer these tips for making your passing as easy as possible for your children.
Estate Planning Essentials
If you haven’t already done some basic Estate Planning, that is your first step. Make sure you have a valid Will that reflects your current wishes and family members. If you haven’t looked at your Will in several years, do it now and make sure it’s still relevant. Most people can benefit from creating a Revocable Living Trust and retitling their assets into the name of the Trust. This will save your children from having to go through Probate to settle your estate. Double-check that the beneficiaries of your retirement accounts and life insurance policies are still accurate. If you don’t have life insurance and your estate assets are not enough to cover your funeral expenses and debts, you might want to consider buying a policy to save your children the added expense.
Beyond the Basics: Ways to Make Your Death Easier on Your Children
Once your Estate Plan is all set, you can tackle the potential emotional burden by taking care of some additional tasks. Some people might find these to be extremely difficult to do, but just imagine how hard it would be for your children to do them instead. Consider taking these steps:
- Plan your funeral. Not only should you write down what you would like in terms of a memorial service or funeral, but you should also discuss your wishes openly with your children. You can also discuss your wishes with your clergy member or put your plans on file with the local funeral home. If you can afford to pre-pay for your funeral, be sure to let your children know you have.
- Write your own obituary. Only you know how you want your story to be told. Take the time to write your obituary and let your children know where they can find it. They can always edit it for publishing if need be. Many survivors find this to be a nearly impossible task to take on while they are grieving.
- Give valuables to your heirs now. If you have family heirlooms and other valuable possessions, why not pass them on now? That way, you can experience the joy of sharing what you love with your children and grandchildren, and they will have less to deal with after your death.
- Organize your papers and finances. Make a centralized file of all of your important documents, bank accounts, passwords, retirement accounts, contact lists, and anything else that will be needed to finalize your estate. If you store it in a lockbox of some kind, be sure your children have the key,
- Downsize. Clear out worthless clutter, donate old clothes, give books away, empty the basement, clean up the garage—take on all of the chores you’ve been avoiding so that your children don’t have to do them after you die. This can be a gradual project if you start years early. If your house is not one you can grow old in, consider downsizing to a more manageable space. That will save everyone a lot of trouble as you age.
When you have a healthy attitude about your own inevitable death, it is easier to tackle these difficult jobs. And you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have made your passing easier for your kids.
Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texarkana, TX?
If you need to start or review an Estate Plan in Texas or Arkansas, you need to speak with experienced Estate Planning attorneys as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, and Longview, as well as Magnolia, AR!