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Tips on preparing for your death

It’s easy to push off, and the last thing you want to tackle on your “to-do” list -- preparing for your death. Death seems so far off in the future, you feel like you can deal with it later. Ignoring the  tasks to prepare for the unexpected will not make the inevitable go away. Enjoy peace knowing your loved ones will not be overwhelmed after you pass. In this article we give you some general tips on preparing for your death. If you're ready for  specific tasks, we suggest you read The Colossal To-Do List When Someone Dies.

List all of your assets

Easy assets to list are your properties, vehicles, deposit and investment accounts. However, “assets'' can mean a lot of different things for people. There might be some family heirlooms that you want specific members of your family to have after you pass away. Maybe you have recreation vehicles or a timeshare. Perhaps you have a ton of airline or credit card points that can be transferred to another individual. Along with these assets you need to have instructions on how to access them. Where are these assets kept? Is there a person to contact concerning the asset?

Your liabilities and debts

You might be thinking you don’t need to worry about debts after you pass because, well, you’ll be gone. However, your estate could be drastically affected by your liabilities. If you have a loan on a recreational vehicle your heirs can decide if they want to retain that asset based on what you owe. If you have a mortgage on a house is that home worth putting money into fixing it up to sell? Also consider the utilities, taxes and insurance you have on the properties you own. Having the debts clearly laid out for your heirs will help them decide where to put their efforts.

Life Insurance

After you create your personal balance sheet of assets and liabilities you may want to consider a life insurance policy. The amount of life insurance needed varies from person to person. Some things to consider are who all depends on you? Is it just a spouse, do you have kids, or are you helping with both your kids and grandkids? If you’re the primary wage earner in your household, think about the amount of money the individuals that depend on you will need.

Create a will and/or a trust

A will is a document that lays out what to do with your assets after you pass. Often wills can give direction on care for children and pets. Wills can provide your heirs with specific instructions on what to do after you pass. A living will and healthcare power of attorney can give your heirs direction in serious health matters for you. You can appoint your executor to be your main emergency contact in case something happens. A trust can be created in more complex estate scenarios. Having a will and/or trust can save your loved ones a lot of arguing and frustration after you pass.

Focus on your goals and loved ones

Create a bucket list of things you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Keep in mind as you age how well you will be able to travel the world and do the things you want to do. Don’t put off everything until you retire. Keep this list top of mind and try to review it a couple times a year. Don’t forget to spend time with your loved ones and express the love you have for them. Life is short, so make the most of it with the ones you love.

Have a farewell plan in place

If you have an idea of how you want to do your celebration of life after you pass, get the plan in place. You can prepay for your funeral and get your gravesite lined up years before you pass. This can take a heavy burden off your family. All of this can seem overwhelming. Don’t try to do all this planning in a day. Make your list and do parts of it at a time. Addio can help you organize and navigate this plan for you to prepare for the unexpected.

Should you create an online will or use an attorney?

If you're weighing the pros and cons of doing it online versus going through an attorney, let us break it down.
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Gabe Caldwell
Gabe Caldwell

Gabe Caldwell is an entrepreneur, investor, biohacker and co-founder at Addio. He leads Addio’s partnership efforts and makes sure that families have access to the top experts in Addio’s Expert Network. In his free time, you can find him riding bikes, lifting weights, or playing beach volleyball.

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Should you create an online will or use an attorney?

If you're weighing the pros and cons of doing it online versus going through an attorney, let us break it down.

Take the quiz