Finances after death is a difficult journey for most people if not all. But life goes on and this is one of the things you have to face. The reality of life is that people will come and go. The more it hurts, the more they had a special place in our lives. And there is nothing we can do to stop it. Either from old age or sickness, people will go and leave ahead of us.
The number one cause of death in the US in 2019 according to the CDC is heart disease with over 600,000 people succumbing to it. But with the health crisis brought by the novel coronavirus. This might not be the case, at least for the last year. As the medical industry was stretched to its absolute limits, it also meant that the virus claimed a lot of lives.
NBC News shares that with almost 40 million affected by the virus, more than 600,000 people have already died from the virus. This makes finances after death a topic a lot of people were forced to tackle in the past year. It is one of the darkest days in your life but one you cannot simply wish away. You need to go through the process.
So what exactly do you need to do? First, you need to remember that what you are going through will be different from others. That being said, there will be no generic steps or solutions to help you deal with it. But there are a few things you can focus on and look into that have worked for a lot of people. Take a look at some of them.
Identify your emotional support
Before you even worry about finances after death, you need to handle and process a ton of emotions you will be going through. According to PsychCentral, most people go through 5 stages of grief when losing a loved one. It normally starts with denial and anger for most people. Then you move on to bargaining and depression. Once you get over that, acceptance is the last part.
The process, journey, and how long you stay in one place si different from one person to the next. This is why it helps that you have an emotional support system around you. This normally starts with family and friends around you. They are usually the ones who care and love you the most. This qualifies them as your emotional support system.
But do not overlook the fact that there are professionals who can help you get through this difficult stage in your life. They can help you go through your grief and help you process your emotions better. In extreme cases, you might need some medications to help guide you better into recovery and getting back to society. The bottomline is that you should not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Get copies of the death certificate
Managing finances after death of a loved one is never easy. But as you move forward, you need to secure the necessary documents and have them on hand. One of the most important is the death certificate. This document is legal proof that a person has indeed passed away. Several institutions will be asking for this document.
It is a good idea to request several copies of this in the beginning. It helps you save time in having to request copies again when you need them. When you are still in a state of grieving, it is tough to keep on requesting copies again and again. You want to be able to focus on what you need to do without worrying too much about documents.
Gather relevant financial documents
If you need to manage the finances of loved ones after they have passed away, you need need to get a hold of financial documents. Your household budget might not be enough to go on though it can be a great start. But you will need more financial documents if you want to effectively manage finances after death of loved ones.
A good place to start is if your loved one left behind a will or testament. This document will help guide you on how you will move forward with everything that they left behind. This is crucial because this basically serves as their last set of instructions on how they want you to manage their assets and finances when they dis.
It is a good idea as well to secure bank statements and even insurance policy copies. These documents will give you a better understanding of what you are going to manage after a loved one’s death. These documents are especially important because they serve as official documents in guiding you as you move forward.
How can you plan ahead?
All these scenarios could get you to think about how important planning ahead is in managing finances after death. It is really not about you but the people you love who you will leave behind. You need to plan ahead to make sure that your assets or estate are handled the way you want them to be. If you want to plan ahead, there are a few things to know about it.
Make a last will and testament
Think of this as your last instructions or message to family and friends when the time comes that you pass away. This is usually left at the hands of a lawyer who then gathers your family and everyone you mentioned in the will after your death. The lawyer then shares the will to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
If you have a number of assets you want to leave behind to your partner or children, this is where you do it. Your lawyer would see to it that your instructions are done and executed within the confines of the law. This way, it makes it easy for the family to know who gets what and not worry about dividing everything up for everyone.
Talk to your family
It is important that you have an open line of communication with your loved ones, especially your husband or wife. It helps also that they have an idea of what your plans are to help manage expectations. This could also help you determine who can help you manage your estate by being an executor of your will.
If you have young children or dependents, it helps to nominate a guardian for them as well. It would be easier if your executor and guardian of your dependents is just one person. But this does not work for everyone. Some executors are great at following your will to a tee but might not be a good fit as a guardian. So talking to family and even friends about it can give you an idea of who you can assign for each.
Not a lot of people want to talk about managing finances after death but it is an important part of life. It is never an easy decision to sit down and think about your own death. It could even be downright scary. But planning for it is something that could help you get to terms with your own mortality and help your family after you are gone.