Death is something no one likes to think about and far too few of us plan for – yet everyone will do it. And leaving grieving loved ones with a lot of extra work and confusion is probably not something you want to leave as your legacy. Here are 10 of the most loving things you can do for the people you love now, before it’s too late:

1. Make a plan. A will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive and, if you have kids, a Kids Protection Plan® so you don’t leave your family to deal with an expensive court proceeding overseen by a judge who doesn’t know (or really care) about you or your family.

2. Write a letter or record a CD. Pass on what really matters to your family — your values, insights, stories and experience — in written or recorded form so they can return to you long after you are gone. Click here to learn more about our Family Wealth Legacy Interviews.

3. Pay for and plan your funeral. Cremated or buried? Ashes or body where? Yes or no to a viewing? Make these decisions now and let your loved ones know, in writing, so they don’t have to wonder. And consider pre-paying for your funeral expenses, so they don’t have to scramble in a time of grief.

4. Plan to pay no taxes. Will there be taxes on your estate and how will your heirs pay them, if so? Meet with me, a Personal Family Lawyer®, to be sure because you’d be surprised how small an estate can be to be at risk for estate taxes or other costs, especially if there’s insurance involved. You don’t have to be rich to think about this.

5. Make a list. Let loved ones know where they can find your legal documents, the key to your safe deposit box and be sure to include all of the password information to access online accounts, including email, Facebook, and other regularly accessed programs.

6. Gather important paperwork. Get your deed, car title, insurance policies, pensions, bank account information, CDs and bonds and put them in your Family Wealth Planning binder so your family can easily find everything you care about.

7. Update your address book. Be sure you have current addresses for friends and family members who live far away as well as contact information for your attorney and accountant.

Your family will be so grateful you’ve already established a relationship with advisors you trust and they don’t have to struggle to find someone. Our Family Wealth VIP Program clients receive substantial discounts on post-death plan administration. Be sure to ask us about that.

8. Take valuables out of hiding. If you hide jewelry or cash in your home, let family members know where it can be found or those things may be lost for good after you are gone.

9. Keep your family out of conflict. Clearly identify who should get what – especially when it comes to sentimental items or valuables — so there is no family fighting after you are gone.

10. Make amends. If you’re on the outs with family members, mend fences now before it’s too late. The greatest gift you can give is your forgiveness.

To learn more about how we may assist you, call us today at 530-581-5455.

To Your Health, Wealth and Happiness,

Jill Gregory