Last week, we discussed the idea that parents are not obligated to leave their children an inheritance. However, estate planning is needed whether there is an inheritance or not. In “There’s More to Estate Planning Than Just the Will,” The New York Times (NYT) advocates for advanced preparation that can spare your loved ones a lot of anguish:
“WILLS, health care directives, lists of passwords to online accounts. By now, most people know they should prepare these items — even if they haven’t yet — and make them available to trusted family members before the unthinkable, yet inevitable, happens.
But the information family and friends will need when a loved one dies goes far beyond those much-talked-about documents, and having them can make the end of life just a little less painful for those who remain behind.”
The New York Times spoke with people who faced confusion after a loved one’s death: a man who found the necessary documentation for the military burial his father desired in between the pages of a book; sisters who found that their mother hadn’t sent in the paperwork needed for a planned cremation; a widow who had to spend a lot of time in court because her husband’s DIY will was not filled out properly.
The article provides details on wills, living trusts, and power of attorney. It also pointed readers to a free e-book, “The Big Book of Everything,” which Eric Dewey wrote after his father died a week before retirement. Dewey had a lot to sort through and wanted to spare others the same ordeal. The book not only covers estate planning, it also discusses the kind of information you need to keep track of throughout your life, “like school and employment history and previous addresses.”