The sudden deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef and storyteller Anthony Bourdain are sparking discussions about mental health. They’re also a stark reminder that a sudden death can affect any family.
CNBC’s article, “Sudden deaths like those of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain can devastate family finances,” explains that a number of the leading causes of death in the US are events that happen without warning. These are things like heart disease, accidents, stroke, and suicide, which are among the leading causes of death across the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An unexpected death has a tremendous impact on a family—mentally, emotionally and physically. In addition, it can also affect family finances, depending on the amount of planning the deceased had in place. Think about these items in the event that an unexpected death occurs.
- Get organized. You should secure all of the deceased’s financial and legal documents, along with his or her keys, wallet, and phone. Next, find the will, if there is one. If an executor is named, make sure he or she takes on their responsibility to lead going forward.
- Look to your own mental and financial health. It’s critical to get the support and help that you need, as you grieve.
- Delay major financial decisions for at least a year. Some folks want to make big life changes right away, but experts say to wait. You're grieving and may not be thinking clearly. You may make a decision that you will regret later. If you do need to make a significant financial decision, talk with an attorney first.
Everyone should do estate planning, so that they don’t leave behind a big mess. Work with an attorney to draft the basic estate planning documents, like a will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy.
When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to draw up these documents, be sure that to communicate both the name of your attorney who drafted the documents and your wishes to your loved ones.
You should also make sure that your plans are up to date. Review your estate planning documents periodically, especially when there are life-changing events, such as marriage, separation, divorce, or the birth or adoption of a child. You should also talk to your attorney about any changes in the law.
Reference: CNBC (June 8, 2018) “Sudden deaths like those of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain can devastate family finances”