The title and inspiration for this posting come from an AARP Bulletin written by Carole Fleck. One of her observations is that, “…. Life is complicated, but death, it turns out, is complicated, too.”
The story follows Susan Crim. It took Susan nearly two years to finally wrap up affairs in the wake of her mother’s death. Then, her father died and much of the work started over again. I’ve heard this story more than a few times from friends. Becoming the executor can be stressful, even if an estate is small.
This author won’t pretend to be an expert on estate planning, financial instruments, becoming an executor and the like. Instead, a list of resources appears below for anyone interested in the subject. What I offer the reader is a bulleted list of the things you can do to make life miserable for those you leave behind. Get to it:
- Open many bank accounts, some of them in neighboring or distant states, one overseas, and then simply leave a list of bank names – Bank of America, Endicott Savings and Loan, Bolivian Credit Union, Texas United, and so on … the kids will figure it out.
- Get in the stock market using an online trading system like E-trade. Never write down any passwords because for sure, as soon as you do, someone will come along and clean you out. Memorize the stocks you purchase or better yet, don’t.
- Lend and borrow money with friends and relatives but don’t ever record the transactions or talk about them with other family members. It’s OK to whine at family meals but nothing specific.
- Get a safe deposit box and tape the frigging key to the bottom of the junk drawer in your kitchen for safekeeping.
- Keep five credit cards open at all times, moving money from one to the next. Have your bills come online, but again, never write down passwords to accounts, including your Hotmail account.
- Tell your sons you want to be cremated. Tell your daughters about a burial plot you’ve considered that overlooks Johnson’s creek.
- Get a reverse mortgage on the family home but don’t talk about it with family. They won’t understand borrowing against a family treasure.
- Keep information for all checking and savings accounts you ever had, open ones and closed, in a big cardboard box in the garage. You never know when the IRS might ask about accounts you held back in the ‘50s.
- At the age of 85, put a sizable portion of your available cash into long-term maturity bonds so you can get a better rate.
Don’t like my list? OK then, make your own or use ideas provided by The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. They suggest a financial inventory. Here are suggest items for that list:
- List financial assets and loans with all account numbers. List the companies by name along with contact information
- Gather all your important documents and paperwork and let responsible parties know where all the information is. Fireproof safes or safety deposit boxes are potential candidates.
- List all the key people that will need to be contacted
And here are links on similar subjects from the same web site:
- Talk About and Encourage End-of-Life Decision Making
- Make a Financial Inventory—My Financial Inventory List
- Allow Others to Handle Your Finances
- Take Care of the People You Care About Most After You’re Gone
- Share Your Decisions
- Palliative Care Costs and Benefits
- Does My Loved One Have Hospice Benefits?
- What Hospice Costs are Covered by Medicare, Medicaid and Private Insurance?
- Taking Care of Yourself – Hospice Benefits for Family and Friends
Go here to download a guidebook to implementing an end-of-life plan.
Or, download these financial worksheets:
- Make an inventory of your finances My Financial Inventory Worksheet [PDF
- Determine where you stand—My Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth Worksheet
- Set goals—My Financial Goals Worksheet
- Identify Sources of Financial Help Financial Advice Financial Information for People
- · Facing the End of Life Plan a Funeral/Memorial Service Find a Financial Planner
Estate planner should check out Caring.com.
- 10 Things to Consider Including in a Will
- Revocable Living Trusts: A Beginner’s Guide
- Estate Plan for Digital Assets
- What to Expect from a Trusts and Estates Attorney
- You’re Turning 65: A Must-Do Checklist
- How Does a Generation-Skipping Trust Work?
- Caring Checklist: What to Do When Someone Dies
- 10 Things You Should Know About Your Parents’ Finances
- 5 Legal Documents You Need for Your Loved Ones