Death is very important in life

Jun 05, 2012

Planning for death can help out family and surviving spouses later in life.

In a piece for the Daily News, Alyssa Harvey said people should discuss their end of life wishes with their friends, family and loved ones in case something were to happen unexpectedly. Loved ones should know where important documents are including bank account, life insurance, powers of attorney and living will paperwork so important decisions can be made quickly and effectively if a policyholder were to fall ill or incapacitated.

Julie Griffin, social worker at Hospice of Southern Kentucky, told Harvey when discussing end of life matters with loved ones, people should approach the topic gently so as to emphasize the specifics and not focus on the morbid theoretical circumstances. If the topic is discussed early, then when the time comes to deploy the end of life wishes, loved ones will not feel pressured or nervous, but will know exactly what to do without hesitation. An organized source of information and paperwork can equip emotional loved ones to make clear-headed decisions in intense moments. Information should be stored in a central location so loved ones do not have to hunt around for paperwork in stressful situations, and discuss the processes involved in end of life plans so the emotional task can be completed swiftly.

Early discussions about end of life wishes not only ensures all preferences will be carried out, but also prepares loved ones for what will be asked of them when the policyholder passes away. People can rarely predict when they will fall ill or die. Thus, it is better to be prepared early, rather than scramble when the event occurs unexpectedly, Harvey reported.

In a piece for Knox News, Jim Brogan, a retirement planning professional, said understanding the critical function of beneficiary forms of IRAs, 401(k)s, life insurance policies and other documents to best prepare for their financial futures and end of life. These documents should be secured in a fireproof safe deposit box or file cabinet so they are safe from natural disasters and located in one spot for easy access.

Further, beneficiary forms and designations are also incredibly important as they may carry more weight than a will in certain circumstances. If the named beneficiary is still alive, they will inherit what is designated to them under the official paperwork. No matter what a will says, beneficiary forms have the final say on the distribution of assets. The beneficiary box on the account form can act as a legal directive granting control to the recipient, bypassing a will, Brogan reported.

Therefore, it is very important to name beneficiaries after careful consideration. Many people automatically name their spouse as the beneficiary of their assets. But their surviving spouses may one day get remarried, and the spouse could execute a spousal rollover changing the beneficiary to someone new which may not have been the intention of the original policyholder. Many laws have been passed to protect policyholder wishes, but there are still circumstances with blended families that can complicated asset distribution if not clearly defined in end of life documents, Brogan reported.

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