The cycle of life always ends with death and for loved ones left behind the timing can sometimes be very inconvenient. Someday another Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg will create an app to precisely predict your departure but for now we are stuck with never knowing when its time to go.
Fortunately however there are things you can do to avoid your grandchildren fighting at the the funeral or your spouse getting evicted well before the first day of your other life.
Purchase Life Insurance
Memories are great and there is no doubt your loved ones will always remember you but do you really want to pass on the burden of debt? Although some debt dies with you something always comes up which puts a financial burden on your family. Not to mention the loss of your income to your spouse. There are many different types of life insurance with affordable premiums and while it’s much cheaper to get life insurance when you are young there are still options for seniors. Never depart without some kind of financial security for your family.
Make a Will
Family reunions are often fun but when children, grandchildren and step children are fighting over a fishing rod you can bet somebody will be cursing you high above the clouds. People are greedy and some are even waiting for you to die so always get the last word and distribute your possessions as you seem fit.
Make a Contact List
Do you pay the bills in your family? Who calls the maintenance man? Is your spouse close with your family? Who is your car insurance agent? It’s imperative to make a list of all the people/companies who are actively involved in your life so the ones left behind to clean up your mess are not out in the cold. A good idea is to create a spreadsheet with names, phone numbers, account numbers and contact information then print it off and buy a bright red or yellow folder. Share the location with your spouse.
Consider Bankruptcy in your Senior Years
How much do you really know about bankruptcy? Do you know many retirement accounts, life insurance policies, joint accounts and joint assets are protected in a bankruptcy depending on where you live? Do you know you can file separately even as a married couple? In many states creditors can’t even touch your house.
So if you have a burden of debt always consult with a bankruptcy attorney about your options. At 70 years old it’s time to live life and not worry about paying credit card companies for the rest of your life. Never let debt ruin your golden years, understand bankruptcy laws and don’t feel embarrassed. Odds are you are even a fan of many of the celebrities who have filed bankruptcy at some point. Bankruptcy can be a smart financial planning tool.
Consult a Trust Attorney
If you are lucky enough to have substantial assets then its time to consult a trust attorney. There are many advantages to creating a trust which could include savings on income tax and more. There are very few wealthy people without a trust however you don’t need to be a millionaire to have one. People with even $100,000 or more can take advantage of trust laws.
Secure Health Insurance
We all have to die at some point but what about suffering and long term care? There is no guarantee you are going to depart while watching the Wheel of Fortune without notice. Many seniors have years in nursing homes, expensive medications and surgeries just to prolong the inevitable and stay alive. While everyone has a right to healthcare America is just not set up that way. Medical care can cause great financial stress to many families. Finding an affordable health insurance policy now is just as important as saving for your 401k since when you actually need it the odds are you won’t get it. Would you rather pay a life insurance company or have your children hope you would just pass on so they don’t get any more bills?
Limit the Number of Regrets
Regrets happen both ways when someone dies. The person departing often has regrets about not doing certain things or mistakes they made. What people forget however is the loved ones left behind also have regrets about not spending more time with the person. Death is not all about you – ask your spouse or loved one what they really want to do in life and try to make it happen while you are alive. Don’t force her to find a younger guy and use your life insurance money to finally visit that dream destination.
While death is certainly not the happiest topic around it is one we all need to discuss, especially when there are children involved.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.