Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Death and Taxes

We all die. It’s the one certainty in life. But, I don’t want to think about it. Especially not when it comes to my loved ones. If I don’t want to think about it, then I don’t want to talk about it, and I definitely don’t want to plan for it. 

But just like all things, the more we ignore it, the worse it gets. 

So here goes… 

First, I hope that all of us and all of our loved ones live long and happy lives. 

Turns out that thinking, talking, and planning for my death is easier than thinking of my loved ones passing. So, I’ll start there. I suppose the only reason I care to plan, is because I want my loved ones to be taken care of, as much as possible, if I’m no longer here. The best way I can do this is to have my affairs in order. 

Daily Stuff 

I manage the household finances. My husband knows where everything is, but not like I do. And if I’m no longer here, I want to make sure that he still has electricity and internet; which means he needs to know exactly what bills we have, who to pay, and when they’re due. So, we have a spreadsheet that lists all accounts and relevant information. The idea is that he could just go down the list and everything would get paid. But if we both die, no one else knows…

           I will share my account list with our parents. 

Big Stuff 

I don’t have much, but I have something, and I want that something to go to my loved ones. I don’t want the courts to decide for me and I don’t want it to go to the government. I have a will…but it was written on an Indian train on very little sleep…Time to rewrite. 

A couple of years ago, my husband and I went through all of our accounts to ensure that we’re both on all of them and that beneficiaries are listed where appropriate. Except there’s that one account… 

My husband has mentioned creating a trust…We should look into that. 

The other big thing is my health care directive. It isn’t money related, but it’s important to make sure I get the quality of life that I want when I can’t speak for myself. Apparently a new and improved form just came out. Whoopee (written with sarcastic font). 

           I will write a proper will and share with my husband and parents. 
           I will add husband to that account. 
           My husband and I will research creating a trust. 
           I will update my health care directive. 

Now I need to make sure that I do the things that I’ve said I’ll do… 

           I will send this blog to my husband and parents. 
           I will finish these in 30 days. Due November 29, 2013. 

I know that this is a basic estate plan, but better than nothing. Want to know what the experts recommend? CNN Money 101 - Lesson 21: Estate Planning

Next, I need to talk with my loved ones about their plans...make sure I know everything I need to know to ensure that they get what they want. 

-Leah Schonlank

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