Many people either bury their pet or have it cremated and keep the ashes on a shelf in their home. However, if you like extravagant gestures and have recently lost a pet, we’ve found something that might interest you. Celestis Pets advertises “the most unique pet memorial service in the universe” and it certainly sounds like it. The company offers memorial space flights for your pet’s ashes. You can choose to just send them to space and back for less than $1,000, send them around the earth with an orbit voyage for about $5,000 or, if you feel very extravagant, send them into deep space or to the moon for $12,500. For more information about people as well as pets, check out our website www.diesmart.com.
Most people don’t like to think about what will happen if they’re in an accident or come down with a catastrophic illness. They don’t decide who they want to speak for them if they are unable to communicate their wishes themselves. They don’t tell anyone what kind of care they want….or don’t want. Once they are hurt or incapacitated, it may be too late.
These are three reasons why you need a living will and a healthcare power of attorney:
1) You name the person you want to speak for you when you can’t. It should be someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf and to carry out your wishes.
2) You decide whether you want heroic measures performed to prolong your life if there’s no chance of recovery.
3) You outline the type of treatment you want to receive.
If you don’t have these documents, a relative you don’t know very well and don’t trust or possibly the courts will speak for you and decide what will happen.
For example, they may decide to put you on life support and prolong your life even though there is no chance of recovery and you may not have wanted heroic measures. They may choose to perform a surgical procedure that you don’t want or they may decide to do something that is against your religious beliefs.
A living will enables you to describe the kind of care you want.
A healthcare power of attorney (It may be called something else in your state or it may be combined with a living will) allows you to name the person you want to be your healthcare agent who can speak for you when you can’t.
Unfortunately, a life threatening accident or a catastrophic illness can occur at any time. There’s no age that is exempt. Think of Terri Schiavo. She was a 26 year-old that had a tragic fall, went into a coma and remained alive, hooked up to a feeding tube, in a vegetative state for more than 15 years because her husband and her parents couldn’t agree on her treatment and she hadn’t legally stated her wishes.
Don’t let others decide for you. If you don’t have a living will and a healthcare power of attorney, get them drawn up right away so your wishes will be carried out and you will be able to speak for yourself….even when you really can’t.
For more information on this important subject, go to www.diesmart.com.
So you don’t think you need a will?
Don’t bury your head in the sand like more than half of all Americans. That’s the percentage of people who don’t have a will…and probably don’t think they need one.
Maybe you think you don’t have enough assets to make it worthwhile. Perhaps you think your spouse will automatically get everything. Or you know your children will do what’s right so you don’t have to worry about it.
Do you know who actually decides who gets what when you die if you don’t have a will? It’s the government! Yes, every state has laws that determine who will inherit your things if you die intestate (without a will). Your spouse and children will have no choice and will not be part of the process. In some states, it’s simple. Your spouse gets everything. In others, your spouse splits the estate with your children. If you aren’t married or don’t have children, your parents or siblings may be the ones who get it all. You may not want your siblings to get anything or, perhaps, you don’t want your parents to inherit. Maybe you’d prefer that the bulk of your estate goes to charity. Whatever your wishes, without a will, they won’t be carried out.
It’s very easy to draw up a simple will. There are many templates on the web or forms you can fill out for less than $100. If you have a complex estate and need to sit down with an attorney, it will cost more. However, for less than $100, you have no excuse.
Get a will drawn up today. Don’t let the government make the decision for you. You decide who inherits what when you die.
For more information about wills, go to diesmart.com.
Many people struggle with all of the decisions that they have to make when putting together their estate plan: Who should get what? When should they get it? Who shouldn’t get anything? Who should be the executor? Who should be the trustee?
All of these decisions can be overwhelming, even for someone who has what is considered a “normal” family, but they don’t have to be. In the wise words of Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, it’s your decision.
If you’re stressed out about how to plan your estate, then don’t despair. Here are three tips for making your estate plan your way:
Tip #1 – Don’t be afraid to disinherit someone. It’s your money, so you can choose to leave it, or not leave it, to whomever you want. But beware – being bullied into making your estate plan a certain way by a certain individual and not the way you really want it (for instance, leaving everything to one child to the exclusion of others at the insistence of that one child) will result in family discord. If you really want to disinherit someone, then that’s your prerogative, but if someone bullies you into disinheriting someone else, then in extreme cases this could amount to “undue influence” and lead to an ugly will or trust contest. If you truly want to disinherit someone, then work closely with your estate planning attorney to insure that not only will your final wishes be carried out, but your plan will be bullet proof from challenges.
Tip #2 – Choose your executor and trustee wisely. Here are the traits you should look for in your executor and trustee: loyal, fair, practical, trustworthy, organized and tough. If you choose a person who has most of these traits, then your final wishes will be fulfilled, but if you choose a person who has only one or two of these traits, then your final wishes will take a back seat to their own agenda. Better yet, choose a corporate trustee, such as a bank or trust company, to put these important jobs in the hands of professionals. Otherwise it may be way too easy for Uncle Bob to skim some off of the top or for your loved ones to convince Uncle Bob to disregard your wishes.
Tip #3 – Listen to your estate planning attorney. While a good estate planning attorney will listen intently so that he or she can learn about your greatest concerns and challenges when it comes to planning your estate, you should also listen to your estate planning attorney because he or she can offer some good advice and solutions to ease those concerns and overcome the challenges. And while sometimes what your estate planning attorney says may not be what you want to hear, your attorney’s advice, which comes from years of experience in similar situations, may very well head off a family feud or a will or trust contest.
For more information about estate planning, go to www.diesmart.com.
You may have thought that setting up a joint or a pay on death (POD) account or property with one of your children would be a good idea. By titling the account or property in both of your names, your child would avoid probate and could easily gain access to the asset. However good it sounds, it may end up creating problems.
Here are three things that may happen.
1) If you have more than one child and only list one child’s name, when you die that child will inherit the entire asset. The other children will receive nothing. If the inheriting child decides to be nice and share with his or her siblings, those siblings will probably have to pay additional taxes on what they are given.
2) If you have a joint account with one of your children and that child gets divorced or a lien is placed on his property, the asset you own jointly may be seized in any settlement.
3) If you name a child on a POD account and that child is still a minor when you die, a court-supervised guardianship will need to be set up until his 18th birthday. At that time, the child will receive whatever is in the account.
Before you make decisions about whether to title any of your accounts jointly with one of your children, you might want to speak with an attorney.
For more information about this and other important topics, go to www.diesmart.com.