Are You Financially Prepared for Death?

Thinking about dying is…well, it’s morbid. But let’s face it: everybody dies. And while a lot of people may think about what or how they want their funeral to go, many people don’t think about the financial aspects of dying.

How much does it actually cost to die?

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a casket funeral is $6,560, not including the cemetery, marker, flowers or obituaries. With those expenses added in, costs can often creep up to $15,000. And what about end of life care?

It’s tough to think about but most people don’t all of a sudden keel over. Many spend days, weeks, or even months in the hospital or receiving some type of care before they pass away. Hospital stays can cost thousands of dollars.

Are you prepared for death?

Are you prepared to die, not just financially, but is everything in order? Most will prefer to have a will which will dictate who will be the executor of your estate. The will will define the benefactors and how the property should be divided.

If you don’t have a will, most bets are off as the government will most likely take control of the estate and there’s no telling what they’ll do (laws vary by state). Talk with a lawyer to make sure your will is clearly outlined and that all your wishes will be correctly met. This is definitely not the thing in your life that you want to skimp on.

Getting your finances in order

Besides a will, there are many other important factors to think about in prepping for your death.

  • Life insurance. Does your family need your income to survive? If so, it would be wise to purchase a life insurance policy to cover your income for a few years so that your family can settle into a new life.
  • Passwords. Does your spouse have access to all your financial accounts? If not, it would be wise to write them all down and keep it in a security deposit box for safe keeping. This includes not only separate checking accounts, but all retirement accounts, savings accounts and stocks.
  • Retirement accounts. Retirement accounts can be a whole other beast. If you don’t have a surviving spouse, your children can inherit the accounts. However, if they try to access the account before the designated age, they could be hit with a severe tax penalty. Talk with your lawyer to figure out how to allow your children to inherit your retirement accounts without a severe penalty. There are many options available.

It is never fun to think about life without you in it. However, after-life planning is an important discussion to have so that your family has all the resources they need to be well taken care of in the event of your passing.