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Why You Need to Have End-of-Life Conversations with Loved Ones

Posted by Shanna Tingom, AAMS® on Dec 15, 2015 2:03:45 PM

Spoiler alert: You aren’t going to live forever.

Nobody wants to face the reality that someday they will die but this, along with taxes, are the two things we can count on in this life.

For some families, the end of life conversations never happen. They’re left having to make serious medical and funeral decisions without knowing what their loved one truly wanted.

Don’t leave your family wondering your intentions.

Have the end-of-life conversations with loved ones today before it’s too late. It will save time, money, and stress when loved are making decisions about your care if they know what you wanted.

I am not an estate planning lawyer but I do know that if your financial affairs are not in order, it can hinder the process for your family to receive funds for your medical care and funeral expenses. That means they may have to cover expenses and be reimbursed later when your estate is settled. That can take a toll on a family.

Before you need the care or a tragic event occurs, consult an estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order. You don’t need to be rich to have an estate plan but you do need a will and living will that expresses your wishes in writing.

Here are some end of life questions to consider:

  • Where do you want to die? Some want to be in the care of medical professionals at a hospital or care facility while others want to be in the comfort of our own homes.
  • What kind of medical care do you want? Some want all possible medical procedures to be done while others opt for only what is necessary or somewhere between the two.
  • What kind of funeral do you want? My friend’s aunt wants no funeral while another relative wants a full religious ceremony. It’s important for the family to know or they will decide for you (and for some of us, that’s okay too).
  • What happens to your body after death? Some may want a burial while others want cremation or their body donated to science.

It’s important to be as specific as you can so your family understands what you want even if you’re no longer able to communicate with them.

How do end of life conversations impact financial planning?

Working with you, Heritage Financial Strategies and Shanna Tingom will create a financial plan that meets your goals and keeps these considerations in mind:

  • Tax consequences of investments
  • Inheritance taxes
  • Giving money away before your death (I talked about this in my blog post What’s Your Legacy?)
  • Retirement planning (How much money do I need to retire?)
  • Funeral expense planning. You can opt to pay ahead or leave it for your estate to pay at the time of death.

It’s sad to think that we’re not going to live forever but the more planning that is done now, the less stressful it will be later for loved ones.

If you’re not sure how to get the end of life conversation started with your family, make an appointment at Heritage Financial Strategies and we can help.