Have you sat down and thought about what your wishes are for when you die? What about your will? Did you just take a long pause to think? Perhaps, you have already put plans into place. If this is the case, I applaud you and your executor will too when the time comes.
It is helpful to have a conversation about what you want done with your belongings, who gets what and who is in charge. When all is said and done, your spoken words mean nothing. Put it on paper!
Some of the following comments come from hearing about the experiences my clients and friends expressed they have had after someone close to them died.
Ideally, a professionally prepared Will is preferred by people who have estates to be taken care of. Falling short of that, a Will stating your wishes in your own handwriting, has to be signed and dated.
If there is no Will, the confusion that ensues for the person who needs to handle your estate can be overwhelming. A lawyer is qualified and may be necessary to handle the legal hurdles that will be confronted.
A family member or friend may have to dig for the required information to satisfy the government and courts in determining who has the authority to make decisions and perhaps act as an executor.
From a grief and loss perspective, take a moment to picture how the person you care about feels now that you have died. Chances are they are sad, overwhelmed, wanting to grieve and having difficulty remembering what needs to be done.
Wait a moment, there may also be other people involved who want things sorted out ASAP and do not realize that it may take some time before anything is ready to be divided, sold and debts paid. This adds to an already present stressful situation for the person who is trying to get everything sorted out.
With all that needs to be completed, when does this person grieve? All of the legal formalities take time and energy that the three days of bereavement from work do not provide.
On the outside, they may seem in control of everything, putting on a happy face and saying, “I’m fine”. They are not fine. Time has also been taken away from their family and friends who might be supportive.
By doing your best to streamline the process for your executor you are in fact providing them with the grace period to grieve in a timely manner. What happens after that is out of your control.This is IMPORTANT. The point is, do not leave a legal mess if it can be avoided