Opinion: Make your end of life plan today

Carol Durant

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Pencil and PacketCarol Durant

What have we learned in the last two years or the last week about dying? The answer is that it can happen at any time, to any human being or pet. It can be an instantaneous catastrophic life ending event or it can be a slow debilitating disease that is witnessed by your family and friends. Human beings do not want to talk about death because they most likely believe that communicating about death impacts their mortality. Individuals think that dealing with death will hasten the end of their own lives. You may have a religious belief system, spirituality or be an atheist, but we are all going to leave this earth. How we leave is to be determined, but you probably have stuff, also known as an estate to leave to someone. You might have cash, stocks, bonds, pictures, social media pages, websites, pets, children and businesses to contend with. Do you have an end of life plan? I am not a lawyer, financial advisor or estate planner, but I have experienced the death of a loved one, planned their specific funeral, worked at a cemetery, assisted clients in purchasing a cremation space or cemetery plot and planning a service for their loved one. It is an overwhelming and daunting task that has to be completed.

Today is a great time to ponder and decide what you would like to have happen to you and your personal belongings before the time is mission critical. Your children, friends, siblings, favorite charity would appreciate your generosity. Write down to whom you would like to leave a specific item, get their mailing address and keep that list handy. Are any of the people on your list going to be a beneficiary or executor/executrix? The rules vary by state, due your research. You may need to retain a lawyer instead of using a legal document platform or template.

Some of the questions that you need to ask yourself: Would you like to be cremated or have a casket service? Contact a funeral home where you live and make an appointment regarding pre-planning. If you are unable to travel/meet in person, you should be able to Zoom or receive information via email or US Mail from the funeral home. For all you thrifty people, please note that you are able to purchase caskets and urns from Walmart and Costco for humans and furbabies. Please make sure the certificate/receipt of purchase is available to your loved ones with your important papers. The links below provide information on estate/end of life planning with a checklist. The ability to have your affairs in order will give you and your family directions, peace and piece of mind.

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/the_probate_process/

https://www.retireguide.com/guides/end-of-life-planning/

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Albany, NY
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