How is your life insurance and estate planning?  Creating a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney and Your Last Will in testament are your responsibility.  Avoiding the discussion on Estate planning and life insurance has become the norm for some individuals.  I encourage you to start having this discussion with your loved ones now, while you can. Your family deserves to have these very important legal documents in hand before you pass away.  Failing to plan could cause your loved ones to endure the financial burden of your burial and watch the state that you live in distribute your estate as it sees fit.

The recent death of my great cousin inspired me to encourage all of you to please get your house in order.  End the procrastination and move into action that will benefit your family, after you are gone.  Think about it; what responsibilities will you leave your family?  Do they know where to find your life insurance policy, estate planning or will they have to figure it all out?  Please understand that preparation of your estate planning is not for you, but your love letter to those left behind.  What does your love letter say?  Have you prepared one?  Do you have life insurance?  I need to add, please understand that life insurance is not the lotto.  While some experts might disagree, my view is that you should make sure that you have an adequate amount of coverage for burial, replace the loss of income and to cover your debts (seek your insurance expert for details).  At the least, have enough for your burial.  None of us will make it out of this world alive!  The responsibility is yours.

Providing for one’s (Gallup, Lyons 2005) loved ones is among the most important reasons to make a will.  Married people (54%) are somewhat more likely than those who aren’t married (44%) to have wills.  Some many people find themselves in positions that could deplete their emergency fund or savings.  Most times where there’s no life insurance, families find themselves borrowing money to bury their loved one.  Losing a loved one is difficult enough.  Having them pass away without a last will in testament or life insurance adds emotional stress to an already grieving family.  Did you know that should you become incapacitated without a healthcare POA or medical directive, your last wishes may not be heard or carried out (seek the advice of your legal counsel)?

According to Lyons (2005), as with having wills that deal with the distribution of assets, age is also a factor in whether people have living wills. The tendency to have a living will increases with age. Nineteen percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they have living wills, as do 32% of 30- to 49-year-olds, 46% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 67% of those 65 and older.  My husband and I travel together often and have our estate planning is in order so that our children or other family members do not have the burden of guessing what our wishes are.  We have written documents in place, that are not time-consuming or difficult to do (contact your legal counsel for assistance).  Our family is worth it.

Ask yourself, do you have your house in order?  Or will your family have to figure things out?  Do your family members know where to look for your important documents (Will, Healthcare POA & Medical Directive)?  40% of Americans do not have a Living Will, 50% do not have a last will in testament.  Take the time to do these things.  Make it easier for your family; avoid letting the state dictate how your estate is disbursed and for some, the fate of your minor children.  In most states, if your estate planning is not in place, your home state will decide how your estate should be distributed and who will raise your minor children, for you.  The bottom line, make responsible decisions to ensure that your family does not endure undue financial burdens and stress.  Execute your life insurance and estate planning now.

Your comments are encouraged and welcome.  E-mail me at christineroebuck@livemylifedebtfree.com.

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