On the death of a parent, there are many problems for survivors to handle at the worst of times . If dealt with early on, you can reduce or eliminate nearly all of them. Instead of bequeathing difficulties and stress for your children, you can spare them much trouble and expense. This could be your most appreciated legacy.
Here are seven bequests you can give your children, even if you're on Social Security, food stamps, or welfare.
1. To avoid the lengthy hassle of probate, arrange for a Living Trust, which includes power of attorney, distribution of assets, and your wishes concerning a monument, a plaque, memorial service, celebration of life. Clear up all debts so you leave no financial burdens for your children to bear, except perhaps a mortgage.
2. Assemble all vital information of your personal affairs, including legal documents that your family will need after you've gone such as birth certificate, marriage, divorce & death papers, savings & checking bank accounts, names & addresses & pnone numbers of those who must be notified.
3. Collect fotos, autobiography, family videos, geneology, early memories, diaries, important letters, journals, etc.
4. Consider organ donation. Total body donation eliminates thousands in expenses for funeral or cremation, casket, cemetary lot, & monument. My choice was Anatomy Gifts Registry in Glen Burnie, MD. (Call 800/300-5433) The service is free of money & hassle.
5. Spare your survivors the difficult task at a stressfull time by writing your own newspaper obituary; that way it can be done the way you want it. Type it and leave it with your vital info (#2 above).
6. In their youth, show them how to work by working with them. Be mindful that the only way they learn is by your example, good or bad.
7. If you have very little $$ inheritance to leave them, give them the tools and info they need to create their own "fortune". Here's what I did: When my children had grown and were well into their careers and making money, I gave each of them one (1) share of Coca Cola on direct purchase plan.With it I gave over 100 pages of instructions I had written, printed and bound, on how to easily invest in the stock market. This "book" was the result of months of research in many books on financial advice, and visits to several libraries to study Morningstar and other publications.
At first I was not an investor myself, but for a year had been reading The Motley Fools and articles on Carlson's DRIP advice. When confident in what I was talking about, I began writing for my sons. Buy the best and bluest stock ("buy and hold"), was the wisest advice, I learned. My sons had the advantage of time; buy during youth and hold for the long term is the way to a modest fortune, I wrote. Now in their late forties, they are still investing, and have benefitted to buy their homes and more, as have I. Using dividend reinvestment you can build a nest egg with pocket change - if you start early.
With as little as $10 or $25 a month to invest, beginners might search The Motley Fools (www.fool.com) and/or Charles Carlson's www.dripinvestor.com Search also the key words "direct investing" and "dividend reinvestment plans"
It's a start. -Norm