Effective planning for your retirement and estate involves several important steps. But before any of these steps can be taken, you must overcome the most difficult one of all: The People just don’t like to talk about the “what if” situation, after a death. It’s a taboo.
So the first step for you is to approach it with a comfortable attitude. The best way to develop this is not to talk to your children first, but to someone else. A pastor, a family lawyer, friends, or whoever will listen. You’ll find that the more you talk about it, the easier it becomes. It will help you begin the conversation with your kids.
Giving them some warning will help too. Don’t hit them cold with it after Sunday dinner. Just make a simple statement at some time: “We will be talking to all of you soon about how we want our estate handled when we’re gone.” That’s it. Give them a week or two to digest it, and then set a time to begin the conversation.
Once you’re ready to sit down and get specific, make sure to cover these important areas. Try to avoid any possibility fo rifts at a later stage. Yu must be able to explain your decision and their reasonings, clearly.
Reveal Everything You Owe
One of the most important life lessons we teach our children is to avoid excessive debt. If things have gone according to plan, your home and vehicles will be paid off by the time you pass, and you won’t have credit cards or other obligations.
Make sure that if you have taken steps like a reverse mortgage that they understand what that means for the family home. Getting
Getting a reverse mortgage explained by an expert can help your kids know what to expect. Ideally, when you are planning for the estate, your mortgage should have been paid off.
The reality is that many people do have debts when they die, and they have avoided talking about it because they fear their kids will think they’re hypocritical. You have to remember that they will find out at some point anyway, and it’s far better they hear it from you.
Even the credit card debt, transfers over to next kin, in the case of a deceased card member.
Spell Out What You Will Have
This too can be problematic. If you refused to help a child with a financial need at some point under the guise of not having the money yourself, be prepared for an angry response when your conversation reveals that you actually had the money but didn’t want to give it to them.
Do your homework. Many people had jobs during their younger years that provided some small amount of retirement. It seemed negligible at the time, but another 40 years of growth may have turned it into quite a sum. Review your life’s course and make sure that you aren’t just naming the most recent accumulations.
Tell Your Plans
Make sure your family understands that you aren’t dead yet and that you plan to continue spending your money until you are dead. Tell them that if you want to travel, you will travel. If you want to make donations, you will make donations. If you want to buy things, you will buy them.
But make sure that you have made a plan to cover your personal obligations, and assure your family that your passing will not create any financial burden on them. Have grave plots purchased? Pre-plan your funeral and consider pre-paying it. Make it clear that your will and other plans are not for the money you have right now but for the balances at the time of your death.
It’s an old saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The time of a loved one’s death is traumatic emotionally; you may not be able to prevent that. But you can certainly take steps to reduce the administrative burden on your loved ones as they settle your estate. Make a plan, discuss it, and write it down. The day will come when your kids are glad you did.
Make a plan, discuss it, and write it down. The day will come when your kids are glad you did. Readers, share what you know and what plans you have on estate planning?