If your dying parent had a last will and testament prepared at some point, now is the time to locate that document and make sure you are clear about your loved one’s wishes. If your sick family member is unable to communicate their thoughts, you’ll need to contact the lawyer who helped to draft the will to review it. The will may also include information about your loved one wants to distribute his or her assets, and any special instructions the person decided upon before taking ill. No will? Get one created pronto, even if you get ready-made store forms or use online software to create a will.
#3: Research Hospice Care Options
Many families benefit from putting their parents in hospice care for the last few months or years of their life. Other families are totally against this, and prefer to allow a dying loved one to remain at home or with family who can look after the person. Whatever the situation, it’s always best to try to adhere to that person’s wishes.
For those who might be struggling with the idea of, for example, putting a grandparent in an “end-of-life” care facility, take heart in knowing that hospices allow for liberal family visits and staff at these centers generally do their best to take care of your dying patients. Some say these facilities can even improve the quality of life for someone who is dying and help the patient deal with the process peacefully. Review different options to find a good match for your parent, and make sure it’s located in a place where family members can visit easily. The Hospice Foundation of America website is a great resource.
#4: Consider Likely Funeral Costs
According to the National Funeral Directors Association’s 2010 General Price List Survey, the median cost of a funeral was $6,560 in 2009. The median cost of a funeral with a vault that same year was $7,755. These costs may be out of your budget but can be accommodated for with the help of a life insurance policy. Alternatively, it’s a good idea for multiple family members—if possible—to start setting aside some money to cover the costs of the funeral or burial. Some families unable to afford the cost of a casket and a more elaborate burial service opt for a dignified and less expensive option, such as cremation.
#5: Talk to a Certified Financial Planner
Weighing out the pros and cons of different financial options can be overwhelming during this stressful time. Set up a meeting with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or a financial advisor to organize the finances, review assets and determine where proceeds from insurance may need to go. An expert can make organizing the finances much easier and also answer any questions you might have about re-titling the deceased parent’s assets and jointly held assets.
It’s never easy to deal with the impending death of a parent or loved one. But following some of these steps above can make a painful process at least a bit less stressful financially for everyone involved.