For most healthy folks, the time simply has not arisen to consider what will happen when we reach the end of our lives on earth. But having these conversations while in good health can demystify the process, adding an element of peace to the idea of the Great Unknown. Start with the basics and you just might find that preparing for the process of death does not have to be as scary as we think.
Creating a Last Will and Testament ensures that all assets will be distributed without dispute or argument after passing. Assets like HSAs and Life Insurance policies can be assigned a beneficiary without the need of an attorney, but for larger accounts like 401Ks and other physical assets, it is important to make your intentions official. Start the process by setting up a one-on-one session with your attorney to determine the best way to sort through your personal financial business. Check with your benefits coordinator at work; oftentimes employers will provide legal services for just this purpose. There are also online services to start this process from the comfort of your own home. By creating a last will and testament, you can also name guardians for your children and pets, set aside funds for their care, distribute gifts to friends, and designate donations to your favorite charity. While it can seem like a daunting task, the reality of having these important decisions legally documented will most definitely put your mind at ease.
Additionally, many find it comforting to write letters to their spouse, friends, family, and children to be distributed post-death. This process can be emotional and intense but can also be extremely satisfying as it provides the writer with a sense that they have said what they needed to say to those who matter to them most. These letters should be addressed to the person they are meant for and should be kept with other important documents such as the last will and testament. Some find that once they write their first set of letters, they want to continue writing letters for their loved ones each year. The important messages will provide comfort and care to loved ones long after we have departed. The action of writing these words to our most cherished relatives also helps clarify our relationships and can guide us in prioritizing the care of these connections while we are still alive. This process gives the writer the opportunity to express love and reconciliation, gratitude, and well-wishes for loved ones going forward. Take the time required to create these letters thoughtfully and with care, they are a gift for both the writer and the recipient.
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