Budgeting for Your Death

Sat, Nov 22, 2014

Probate

Some rights reserved by A.M. KuchlingHow do you budget for a death? Sounds a little weird, huh? Moreover, it is a topic most people would sooner avoid. However, we all die whether we like it or not.

So how can you budget for it and why should you care, since you will be dead anyway? Well, your family won’t be dead and they will be dealing with the financial burden in addition to the emotional burden. Do you really want them to have to finance your death? Probably not.

Therefore, planning is imperative. When should you start this planning? Ideally, you should start as soon as you are financially responsible for yourself, or at least as soon as you are financially responsible for someone else, who may be a spouse, a child, a significant other, or even a parent. You will need to make sure that they can afford to at least bury or cremate you. Even a no-frills burial is expensive these days. Cremation is too, even if you don’t house the ashes in anything besides what they come in.

One way you can plan is to approach a financially stable funeral home and pre-pay for your burial and/or cremation and service. Not all services can be prepaid, but many can. This also allows you to choose the burial of your choice. Your family won’t be responsible for making those choices in their time of grief.

If you don’t have all the funds you need for this pre-planning, then you might consider a separate account for this type of saving. Some people have life insurance in mind for this expense, but your beneficiary probably wouldn’t get the life insurance in time for the burial. Can your family afford to pay now and re-pay themselves later?

In addition to the basic ceremonies surrounding death, there are other things to consider. Do you have a will? You should. Everyone should have a will, even if you don’t think you have any property to be concerned about. That’s because you don’t want your family to have to worry about this detail either. In addition, if you have young children, you need to be sure that they are provided for in the will. This provision isn’t only financial, but you need to name a responsible adult prepared to care for them. If you die without a will (intestate), the court would eventually choose someone to care for your children, but it probably wouldn’t be the person you would have chosen. This is an important choice because most people want to financially care for the people in charge of their children. So, that is something that you also need to budget for. Life insurance is a way to do this, as is making them a beneficiary of your retirement fund. These types of things pass directly on to the beneficiary, a great way to reduce probate costs. Probate is an expensive and lengthy process that causes a reduction in monetary gain for your heirs.

And don’t forget estate planning. Doing some planning now can allow you to leave more for your heirs to enjoy, and help reduce your estate’s costs later.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

Image: Some rights reserved by A.M. Kuchling

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