Money 309: Big Decisions – Family Deaths

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Money 308: Big Decisions – Vacations

When a family member is growing older, boldly bring up inheritances

Clarify desires and expectations

Give input when they do decide to make their will

If they’re interested, minimize taxation through a living will

Be prepared to navigate family politics with anyone relations who have shown patterns of selfishness (more on this later)


Funerals, like weddings, exploit an emotional state to make a substantial profit

Funerals are difficult to talk about but very necessary

  • People don’t like to talk about death, and funerals know and exploit the emotional discomfort
  • Have the bills in order as you prepare for the funeral

Someone who dies doesn’t need anything

  • Funerals are for the bereaved, not the victim

Many funeral expenses are unnecessary

  • Decorations and features on a casket don’t matter; its purpose is to hold a body
  • Embalming charges a fee to sabotage a corpse, and an open casket funeral works just as well with refrigeration

Get at least 10-15 death certificates when they pass away to send to all interested parties


Financial institutions

Previous employers where a retirement account may be

Credit card companies


Insurance providers

Social security office

Anywhere else where they received financial statements

Review the wills/trusts and the terms set in each document

Give them to your legal or financial counsel for advice

Assets are typically not a straightforward value

  • Unpaid debts of the deceased might become the beneficiaries’ liability
  • If the assets to be distributed aren’t part of a will, they may be subject to probate
  • Life insurance policies (more on this later), retirement accounts and annuities pass directly to the beneficiaries

Stay organized by keeping a separate folder for each account type

After the initial work, plan for the future

Review your budget with the new expenses and assets in mind

Review the retirement investments you’ve acquired and the financial needs you have

Start new financial goals with your new budget

Next: Money 401: Investing