Tracking code caldwell guardian

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Business of Dealing With Death

THE GUARDIAN is in the midst of dealing with the death of my last surviving parent.

Despite pleas to make arrangements for a clean exit from life,many people will not deal with their finite mortality in a business like manner. Do your survivors a favor and get all your necessary information out where it can easily be found. Don't make this a scavenger hunt for the Executor of your estate.

This means in most cases all you financial information with account numbers with names and addresses of the various institutions. Boomers will be the oldest and largets generation to hit the checkout counter. Some of us are going to cross the ninth decade of life or more, some with grace and dignity but a lot of us will be dealing with dementia and all the indignities old age has to offer up until we suck our last breath of air. We will test the system as we die off and funding of entitlements gets the ultimate test during the next thirty years or so.

So here is the deal... Man up and start dealing with this stuff now. If you don't you will leave an unbelievable mess for your heirs to clean up. First on the list is make sure the taxman is paid and up to date. If not the IRS and the State will move on the assets like a pack of jackals with all manner of penalties and interest for taxes owed out of estate assets. They will get paid first before anything else gets paid.

Make sure your heirs know your social security number as well as your date of birth. And should you make funeral arrangements make sure they get enough copies of the death certificate. Don't ask me why but everybody having a financial arrangement with you will want one of these beauties to stuff in a file drawer. Don't be stingy get at least ten of these highly coveted documents so your executor or trustee can get stuff done.

Make it known where your tax records are and the preparer who did your tax returns. This along with the attorney you selected go a long way to help as well.

Last thought ..nobody gets out alive so deal with it in a way that will make your heirs proud. Think about assisted living and having some kind of a social life rather than hanging onto the notion of dying with your boots on in your own home. This is the fodder of the reverse mortgage industry and their nonsense about not taking your home when you run out of money. If you run out of money how will you stay in your home? They don't explain this one to you when they market this junk to old folks. Sell the place and get rid of the junk you no longer need or use and get into an environment where human contact is possible and decent food is on the menu.

Try to die broke but leave enough to deal with estate matters. It is the polite thing to do and your heirs will be most appreciative. If you have a trust have at least three designated as your trustee for the trust and or estate. You never know you may outlive them if they are too old when you pick them for the job. You might want to consider a grandchild for this job who is smart, honest and trustworthy. And make certain they are up to the task and are agreeable to do this for you.

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