“Birth, life, and death — each took place on the hidden side of a leaf”
The point is that Death is scary… it is a subject we would rather philosophise about and consider non-existent until the actual happening of the event. Death is unpredictable, and we can never be completely prepared; what we can do though is minimise risk! Although the direct impact of the loss of life is on the dying person, it is the one’s who are left behind that have to bear the consequences.
Loved ones can never be emotionally prepared and the loss might take a long time to heal. The process of living after death can be difficult; we have a baggage of memories, and moments of which life is made off. Sometimes the process of grieving can last for years… but life goes on. There can be confusion, disarray, or feelings of being lost and bewildered, mingled with a sense of shock, disappointment, or fear. Many who are emotionally and spiritually dependent on the deceased can feel abandoned by the death of a loved one.
Amongst all this, what is important is what needs to be followed after death to make grieving manageable. While there are rituals, rites, customs, traditions and ceremonies that need to be taken care off, someone out of the blue, asks… “Did he write a will?” or “How are we going to manage our finances?
Finally, reality kicks in. It is going to be tough to stay alive after death. Often in life, we do not want to talk about taking insurance, writing a will or letting our dependents know our investment status. “Why should I make a will? Are you suggesting I will die?” or “I’m okay… I do not have to discuss finances with my wife because it’s a man’s job”
Though death is unavoidable we can always minimise risk. Life’s emergency situations require advance preparation and planning. It is a slow and steady process. What would you do for someone you love so they can live on after you’re gone… what are the things that you would want your loved one to know so they can take control of the situation instead of allowing the situation controlling them.
The first steps is organising your papers and keep communications with appropriate individuals; keeping your taxes updated, insurance premiums paid, and other monthly activities in tune. Many situations require you to take actions now to avoid financial problems later. The idea is to keep survivors from being hassled by interested parties.
Though the list is unending, here are some things you could keep track of and keep at an appropriate place:
1. Will, trust, and other estate planning documents
2. Powers of attorney
3. Bank and brokerage account statements
4. Retirement plan statements
5. Government benefit paperwork
6. Insurance policies
7. Business records and Tax returns
8. Credit card and debt information
9. Secured places, such as a safe or safe deposit box
10. Email accounts and passwords
11. Property records for real estate, cars, and other major assets.
Check on the documents and will that were prepared by the deceased, and communicate with respective authorities. Find out if the deceased had taken any life insurance policy and if you are its beneficiary, if so, contact the insurance company and file a claim for benefits. This is one of the first things you can do to ensure there’s enough cash on hand. Along with this apply for all the benefits that the deceased had paid for the happening of this very event, including pension, and other employment-related payouts.
If you owned property together — as joint tenants or in another form of joint ownership — the survivor should change the title document to show that he or she now owns the property alone. This will make it easier for the survivor to manage the property. Check title documents for real estate, vehicles, bank or brokerage accounts, and other significant assets to see whether you need to update ownership records.
Losing someone will more than likely cause you to reevaluate your own plans for leaving property at death. If you have a will or living trust, you should review it and change it, if necessary, to reflect your current life circumstances and wishes. Also take a look at who is named as beneficiary of retirement plans and any other major assets that will pass outside the will or trust.
Although creating a living will can sound harsh, yet it makes work manageable. It is always nice to prepare a living will and a durable power of attorney. These important documents will allow you set out wishes and name a trusted person — beneficiary — to oversee and make medical decisions if that ever becomes necessary. Making health care documents can also open the door to discussing your feelings about organ donation, burial or cremation, and other final arrangements.
Make a financial power of attorney lets you name someone to handle financial matters — from writing monthly checks to managing investments. Without this document in hand, you or other loved ones would most likely have to go to court to get the necessary authority.