By Guest Contributor Janet Lee Kraft, author of
Leaving Lightly: Getting Your Affairs in Order So All You Leave Behind is Love
Once a person has passed from this physical world, common sense would tell you that that’s the end of them.
Common sense would be wrong, because the end of you is not the end of you. Here are five reasons why.
1. What You Have Created Keeps Going.
You have spent a lifetime creating, well, YOU. You have amassed money, property, an online presence, loans, debts, relationships, memberships . . . . All these things do not stop just because you do. The mortgage will still come due. The accounts on automatic withdrawal at the bank will continue to be withdrawn. What you have created continues on without you until someone puts a stop to it.
2. Fido, Fluffy, Junior and Grandma Still Need You.
Many of us have pets. They look to us with those wistful eyes to feed, water, exercise, entertain and medicate them. If you are not able to do that, who will? Perhaps you have minor children, a dependent adult child still in the home or an aging parent you support. Who will step in and take over your role of provider? Especially if you live alone, the implications of not having someone to step in for you is immense.
3. What Will You Do With the Remains of Your Remains?
Clearly, something has to be done with your physical body when you no longer need it. Who will make the decision as to what happens to your body? Who will pay for it? If you decide what will happen to your physical body and put those plans in place, no one else is burdened or traumatized by having to make that decision. Besides, your estate will likely save considerable money by avoiding the “emotional buying” that occurs when someone is in crisis and they can’t think straight.
4. Messes Get Messier.
Many, if not most, of us leave behind some kind of mess that someone else will have to “clean up.” That mess may be financial, or it may be an over-abundance of personal property that must be handled. Sometimes it is secrets that will come to light upon your passing. But you created these things, and if they are messy in life, they will be messier after you pass when someone who is not you tries to deal with them. What was messy before is even messier now.
5. Relationships That Go South Without You.
And speaking of messy, what about those testy and trying (or dysfunctional and damaged) relationships you may have in your life? They continue on after death, and it is very hard for those to heal because few things are resolved in death. Your relationships do not disappear because you do. They continue on, only now anger, grief and resentment may be exacerbated because they can add dying before their issues are resolved to their list of grievances against you.
So yes, the end of you is not the end of you. And that’s why end-of-life planning is so important.
ELG Estate Planning can create an estate plan for you that will lessen the burdens on your family and loved ones. They will help you direct what to do with your assets. They will account for who will take care of your dependents. And while ELG Estate Planning is not in the funeral or counseling business, the process of putting your estate plan together creates an opening for discussion and action on what to do with yourself and your relationships after your passing.
We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to plan for the future.
Because now you know the end of you is not the end of you.