Losing our closest loved ones is always difficult. While no one wants to think of their family as a piggy bank, the honest truth is that death creates a legal and fiduciary requirement on those left behind, and this may be complicated immensely by liquidity needs, property value, cash assets, and of course, the deceased person’s wishes. Outside of financial planning, death asks a lot of us emotionally as well.
In the wake of a loss, we must put on a brave face while celebrating the life of one of our closest friends.
Dress nicely to feel like yourself.
Things can easily become overwhelming during the course of a funeral, but grief follows us out into our daily lives for months or years afterward. One coping mechanism found to be helpful for some in mourning is to buy a new outfit or two for the wake or funeral – some petite blouses, a new jacket, or tasteful skirts. Wearing something crisp and new but also comfortable through the mourning process can help. Just like your wardrobe choices on a day working from home, wearing something you enjoy can help improve your mood; and during a time of great distress, any little boost you can give yourself is a plus.
Know what’s at stake.
A common asset that is frequently the source of tension is the family home. Many heirs feel an emotional connection to the home they grew up in, but others may have designs on the property, which has almost assuredly grown exponentially in value since the time of its purchase. However, inheritance law surrounding real estate is complicated. Because a house is likely the most valuable asset within the estate, it means that disunity over what to do with the property can extend the probate process that must occur while the assets are appraised and transferred to new owners, specified by the will document.
Arguments over a sale of real estate stem primarily from the inability of a trustee to secure financing in order to buy out their siblings. Traditional banks typically stay away from these sorts of arrangements; fortunately, private lenders exist just for this reason. Probate and inheritance loans act as a bridge to level out the assets left behind so that all trustees are able to walk away with the possessions and value that their loved one set aside for them. Experts like those at hcsequity.com can help you find the right plan for your family and assets. They are able to offer flexible underwriting and terms with no prepayment penalties or minimum months of interest for trustees.
Understand the financial side.
Obviously, initial grief isn’t the only thing to contend with after loss. Butting heads over finances is an all too common spectacle that pits siblings and attorneys against each other for far too long. Finances are truly the dirty business of death, amidst the grief and loss, siblings, children, and grandchildren are forced to negotiate the ins-and-outs of their loved one’s final desires for their assets. And these don’t always split easily among two, three, or more primary beneficiaries. An estate is also a tricky legal proposition that may lay out specific guidelines for the executor to bequeath specific valuables and real estate to particular heirs, or it could require nothing more than an even split – leaving the calculation up to the executor and a team of lawyers. This is made even more complicated by the fact that only 32% of Americans have executed estate planning documents – most commonly in the form of a will. This leaves heirs to squabble amongst themselves over every inch of the estate.
To avoid any unnecessary fighting, try to have the conversation before you need to (ie, in the case of your loved one’s passing). Make sure that they have a will in place that is made in good health. Make sure they have an attorney involved so that the decisions made in the will are verified by a third party. If everyone in the party understands the situation so that there are no surprises when the time comes.
Death is a difficult time for many reasons, but adding extra hardship and tension among those left behind is the last thing that anyone wants. Working to balance yourself mentally while preparing to negotiate the financial tangle that is sure to come is the best way to honor your loved one’s wishes and grieve in a healthy way at the same time.