Postmortem Paperwork Proliferates

As a public service, the Foreman family assembled a list of "to dos"; what must be done after a loved one dies.

Death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin aptly noted that these are the only two certainties in life. Mr. Franklin perhaps should have added a footnote regarding the paperwork both certainties generate.

A New York Times blog (The New Old Age) recently published a “public service” announcement of sorts titled Death's Companion: Paperwork. The article showcases the experiences of the Foreman family as an object lesson for what one of the family members member termed “administrivia.” This in an appropriate one-word description for one family’s experience with the trials and tribulations of postmortem paperwork and minutia.

Think about it. While we are living, we establish myriad relationships with bureaucracies. Whether the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, banks, hospitals, creditors, social media platforms, car companies or gym memberships, we all have long lists of identification numbers, account numbers, customers numbers, and user passwords. And the list goes on and on. So, what happens when you die? How do all of these relationships end? How many trees must die (in the form of paperwork) to achieve legal and financial closure?

It has been said that a shortcut to wisdom is to learn from the experiences of others. Accordingly, the experiences of the Foreman family provide excellent lessons and the original article provides important pointers for you to consider in your own estate planning.

In short, proper planning is about seeing both the forest and the trees. Be sure to seek competent legal counsel to help you with the big picture when it comes to your own estate planning. However, the difference between the success or failure of any estate plan hinges on careful attention to the details.

You can learn more about probate and trust administration  in on our website. Be sure to sign up for our free e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: The New York Times – The New Old Age Blog (March 15, 2012) “Death’s Companion: Paperwork

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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.