Resolve to make difficult times
Senior Living

Having frank discussions with your loved ones about end-of-life wishes and financial matters will reduce their burdens.


There are few traditions as optimistic in spirit as resolution setting. Every Jan. 1, millions of Americans make resolutions. In 2015, the second most popular resolution — behind dieting — was to become better organized, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute ranking of top 10 New Year’s resolutions.

Although sometimes intimidating to take on, organizational initiatives can produce enormously satisfying results. One such gratifying organizational endeavor involves getting your thoughts together, documenting your information and expressing how you want to live out the rest of your life. This undertaking is uniquely rewarding because it will give you peace of mind while also helping to make difficult times easier for your loved ones.

Stepping into another’s financial life: A daunting task

Eventually, your loved ones may need to help with your personal care (in case you become ill and need assistance) or handle your financial matters when you are no longer able to do so. The emotional impact they will suffer as a result of their loss will be compounded by the stress of dealing with the legal, financial and logistical aftermath.

While it’s never easy to step into another person’s financial life, the task becomes infinitely more difficult when loved ones have to guess how things should be handled, or cannot find important information, such as bank and credit card accounts, health-care proxies, wills and contact names and numbers.

There are countless stories of families who did not talk about their end-of-life wishes and financial matters until it was too late. In fact, 90 percent of people say it’s important to talk to loved ones about these issues, but only 27 percent have done so, according to the Conversation Project National Survey conducted in 2013.

Organization: An elixir in difficult times

By proactively planning, you can relieve your loved ones of the burden of having to piece together your financial life and guess as to how you want things handled. The process is not onerous — it simply involves gathering, consolidating and making the following information available:

• Insurance and beneficiary information

• Key contacts, advisers and executors

• Financial information and accounts

• Online accounts, memberships and social networking identification

• Location of important documents

• Final arrangements and wishes

If this list seems overwhelming, don’t despair, help is available. The free, What My Loved Ones Need to Know planning guide booklet will help you organize your information and communicate what matters most to you — both now and in the future. This online resource is dynamic, so it can be updated as life evolves. You can also visit the Prepare Your Accounts, ShareYour Wishes page on for helpful articles on how you can share your plans or help loved ones with their planning.

By resolving to take the time now to organize your financial world and document your care preferences and end-of-life wishes, you can provide an elixir to your loved ones that will make difficult times easier down the road.

See the original article in the print publication

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