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Ease the Pain, Make a Plan

We're all just passing through and never know our exit date. Make it easy on your loved ones and keep end-of-life planning fresh. - photo from

Two weeks ago, I met with a dear friend: a beautiful career woman without children. During our dinner she shared of recently taking advantage of a benefits program with her employer to prepare end-of-life plans. Unlike the millions of Americans who postpone advance planning, she understood the value. Just a few years past 40, she has been the designated member in her family of funeral arrangements for at least four relatives -- not a role that she relishes.

The signature symbol for Prince - courtesy Wikipedia

Before completing this post, it was announced that another cultural icon had suddenly died: Prince. Within the week, reports have cited that there may not be a will. In spite of his resolute business acumen, could it be true that his multi million dollar estate did not have an estate plan? While still early in the process, this writer hopes a trust or will materializes to prevent the nasty battles that could play out for years to come between the family, record labels and various stakeholders.

Addressing end-of-life plans, such as wills and investments like life insurance, can be stressful. The weight only intensifies when considering the funeral arrangements for loved ones caught off-guard. In addition to juggling feelings about the death or anticipated-death of someone close, there is the decision making. Is your choice one they would support? Was there ever a discussion on what they would prefer?

Control your own narrative and think ahead. Visualize how you envision your last years. What's the budget to live to your satisfaction? Do you have investments? Do you contribute to a 401K? If the answer is no, resources exist -- perhaps, even within the benefits of your employer.

What happens next? Plan out your ending. What type of service for the living occurs? What becomes of your body? Will you donate organs? Have you completed a will? Is it up-to-date? Is there an informed collaborator who has been provided the location of your key documents; who knows your key points of contact; and who can access passwords to digital accounts, safes and residential alarms?

If you or a loved one have not taken these advance planning steps, take advantage of the following resources and organize for yourself and those you love.

Links to a variety of relied upon resources for the full range of advance planning concerns such as AARP and the American Bar Association

Tip sheet for Advance Planning at any age from the National Institutes of Health

Resources to begin the process of advance planning with family

A great piece to consider before considering either a kit or hunting for an attorney.

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