Estate planning done improperly can be a family nightmare. Adding insult to injury is that when a loved one passes away, the executor or trustee is responsible for the estate and pays the final bills. This can include legal fees, court costs, and time delays. They also must settle disputes and ensure the estate is distributed according to the instructions left behind.

Often, the executor pays out of pocket for expenses, such as the funeral, travel costs, and celebration of life. Depending on family dynamics, this can lead to disagreements and even arguments regarding reimbursement. Interesting side note: Do you know who paid for the singer Prince’s funeral? George Lopez did. Yup, the comedian and friend. Why? Because Prince’s 4-million-dollar estate was tied up. They couldn’t release any assets until they had a death certificate and legally settled the estate.

No one wants to talk about the end of their life. But prepared or not, it is still going to happen. And there will always be a cost associated with it, whether it’s the simplest of cremations or a traditional funeral. The planning is for the family that carries on after you. Having a plan will give families peace of mind from the financial stress so they can focus on the hundreds of decisions that will need to be made.

Buying preneed directly from a funeral home can sometimes be a good option. Even choosing the details of your send-off will ensure that the family won’t have to make or pay for those decisions. And the estate doesn’t have to be settled to get to the funds.

Another option is a unique product from a life insurance company that doesn’t require a death certificate because of the way it’s set up. Why is that important, you ask? Well, depending on where you live, getting a death certificate could take up to a month or more. You can get this product up to age 100, and there are no health questions (yes, really).

Suppose the family needs liquid assets right away. You could gift the assets to your family now to avoid probate, court costs, and time delays. But now, the assets belong to the person you entrusted. It now belongs to them. That means that they can be sued for it. It can be divided in the case of a divorce —all kinds of ramifications of this method.

We still feel that you should consider all options; wills, trusts, quit claim deeds for real estate, etc. We can help you determine what may be the right strategy for you. No charge. We just want to help.

All of that said, we wish you a long, healthy, and happy life!