Realizing that one’s parents are mortal and may die is not easy to accept. As children, we want our moms and dads to stay in good health and be with us always. Even in adulthood, when we no longer depend on our parents for survival, we still want them around for the warmth and sense of belonging they instill in us. No one wants to think about their parents dying one day. However, the reality is that a day will come when our parents are no longer with us.
That is why it is important to be prepared for that day, as hard as it may be. Not in a morbid kind of way, waiting for your mom or dad to pass away, but in a sensible, practical, and open-minded kind of way. Two elements need addressing when preparing for a parent’s death. One is the emotional aspect, and the other is the financial aspect.
How to Emotionally Prepare for Death of a Parent
Not all deaths come with a warning. Some parents die suddenly, without warning, and there is no time to prepare to deal with the traumatic emotions of their passing. Other deaths come slowly, after months or even years of failing health due to a terminal illness.
If you are unlucky enough to have your parents taken away from you unexpectedly, perhaps through a heart attack or a car accident, you may be left feeling robbed of a chance to say proper goodbyes. You may need professional counseling to help you process the trauma of your sudden grief.
On the other hand, if your parent or both parents were suffering from a terminal illness, you may have had the time for that conversation about their death and what happens afterward. As hard as it is at the time, that conversation may help you deal emotionally with the loss. Not to imply that experiencing a foreseen death is less emotionally traumatic than a sudden passing.
How to Financially Prepare for Death of a Loved One
The main document to get in place when setting the finances in order is to draw up the testament. Do that while your parents are still in good health. Knowing that your parent’s wishes are set out in a legal document will give you peace of mind at this stressful time. An official last will document will make it much easier to deal with relatives who show up after the death to haggle over every last cent of the estate. It will also save the expenses of any court cases that may arise when family feuds over the estate. The estate payout is tax-free. In the United States, 38 states do not impose any inheritance tax.
Your parents can also leave you a legacy worth up to 5.43 million dollars that is free from any federal estate tax. This law was brought into effect in 2015 and provided the estate-tax exemption.
When drawing up a will and deciding who will receive what, it is important to remember to include all the personal possessions, the house, car, and furniture that will need to be divided among family members. Furniture is often left out, and it is the third most expensive item a person buys in their lifetime. No one wants to endure arguments on who gets pop’s favorite sofa at the time when they are trying to come to terms with his death.
The death of a parent is one of the hardest things you will need to face in your lifetime. Having a plan in place that takes care of the logistics of your parent’s last wishes goes a long way to making this transition time as easy as possible for everyone. It will save you a lot of stress and anguish at an already stressful time.