March 26, 2004, Newsletter Issue #60: top 10 things to do prior to loss or funeral 1 of 3

Tip of the Week

These are the ten things each of us should do to avoid any confusion, big mistakes, overpaying taxes or purchases.

1) Have a will drawn up, or update your prior one. There are many things that need to be covered, don`t leave it to chance - and to the state to decide who gets what, after all, this legal document will detail it all. Loss of control and fees paid to the state in probate, and time is the result of inaction. The old saying, "not to decide, is to decide" carries here somewhat. If you don`t care enough, it will show up, and your family will be worse off without your attention to these details. Please, detail it all, do it now, even while young, then you will not be one of the 60% of the population, that die without a will in place. It is not "if I die, it is when I die".

2) Get your house in order now, find all banks used, all lock boxes (if any)and gather copies of your joint tax records for the past five years, records of both your husband`s and your own retirement plans, all insurance policies, bank and brokerage accounts, car titles (whose name are they in? If the spouse is ill - have them transferred), and the deed to your house and/ or any property and assets. Is it in a `joint` name? Place all these in one place to make it easier at time of need.

3)Plan what you would like for your funeral, and find out what your spouse would like as well. If an earth burial, or cremation, if one with a viewing, or not. What provider to use for the funeral services, check more than one mortician as this could be a large costly purchase and shopping is in your best interest. Find out what music, dress, all details so you will at least be able to give them the last wishes.

(To be continued next 2 newsletters)If in meantime, you have any questions, please write funeral/loss guru.

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