It Takes More Than a Will
As more and more young people lose loved ones to Covid 19 they will be fraught with more than just mourning. They will be thrown into the whirlwind of settling financial and legal obligations after their loved one is gone.
Take action. Having a will is a good start, but it’s simply not enough.
The week after my father passed away I sat with my husband and sister at a prestigious funeral home in Dallas, Texas. My grandparents were already buried there, and my father already had his plot purchased next to theirs.
We met with a funeral director.
After a series of questions about our preferences for our father’s service, he left the room. Shortly after he returned and presented me with a folder. It contained an itemized list of costs boiling down to the tune of roughly $20,000.
This was amid the pandemic, we couldn’t even have a traditional funeral!
At this point what we had walked into was very clear.
A funeral home is a business that preys on people in their most vulnerable state.
Do not be taken advantage of.
Funeral homes DO NOT require you to purchase everything you need from them.
We found a beautiful casket wholesale for $1,000 (the same one the funeral home sells for $8,000). We had it delivered to the funeral home.
Consider ordering the flowers through a local florist.
Look at the itemized bill, figure out what they are charging for and why.
Have discussions with loved ones NOW. Do they want to be buried? If so, then where? If they prefer to be cremated where would they like their ashes scattered?
If left to deal with this on your own and on a budget, consider a small funeral home in a small town as they are often more affordable than large cities.
In contrast, start making arrangements for yourself and your family so that if something unexpected occurs they will not be left to deal with the fallout on their own.
States vary on their laws, so ensure you are making a will that is legally binding in your state.
Name an executor and or trustee of your will and estate. Unfortunately, some families fall apart after the loss of a loved one, especially if money is involved.
Leave all of your passwords and usernames with a trusted individual or put them in the folder with your will that only one or two family members (mainly your named executor) know where to find.
A copy of a will or trust will not suffice for legal purposes. Verify that your documents are legal, signed, and notarized correctly.
If able, hire a local reputable attorney to handle your affairs.
Was a vehicle recently purchased? Make sure to check the “death clause” box when taking out that loan. This will pay off the loan if the owner dies from either an accident in the vehicle or otherwise.
Bills do not stop after someone passes away. Credit card and medical bills must be paid.
Consider setting money aside or prepaying for your funeral expenses. It has been 7 months since I lost my father, and I still have not received the benefits from his life insurance company or retirement accounts.
This is not a subject people like to discuss.
This is not an event people like to prepare for.
This IS something we will all face at some point in our lives.
Do your loved ones a favor, and take care of it so they don’t have to.