None of us wants to think about boring, grownup stuff like wills, but being an adult is not as hard (or even boring!) as it looks! Trust me. And there are companies and resources out there that actually make the process easier. You don’t have to become an adult overnight, but it’s high time we put our big girl pants on and suck it up. Here are five grown up, albeit a little morbid, things to start doing now:
It’s likely that most of us haven’t even started thinking about wills. That comes decades down the road, right? Wrong. Everyone over 18 should have a will, even if you don’t have kids or own property. You still have assets and you want them protected. You can use companies like Trust & Will, which does online estate planning. There’s also Rocket Lawyer and Willing. The online route is good to take if you don’t have the money or resources to spend on a lawyer right now. It’s simple and easy and can make the process enjoyable.
Plan In Advance
An advanced directive is also probably something we’re not really thinking about much—let alone even really know about. It’s a will but for healthcare and end-of-life planning if you’re unable to make your own decisions. Resources like the American Cancer Society lay out the nuances of advanced directives and even provide an FAQ on the subject. The AARP (don’t be dissuaded!) provides the necessary online forms by state, since advanced directives differ state-by-state. Again, this is not something to put off. It’s better to be safe and have everything in order and lined up.
There’s nothing unsexy and unromantic like a prenuptial agreement. But it’s necessary paperwork to protect your assets, especially if you have property or independent wealth. You can use online resources like Hello Prenup, which wants to take out the awkward lawyer aspect of writing prenups. But if you’d rather have some privacy, go the old-fashioned route and get a lawyer. Either way, even when you’re getting married, you should be protecting yourself from divorce.
This can include wills and advanced directives, but estate planning is larger in process and scope. If you own any sort of property, you should be estate planning. And I don’t just mean if you own a house. Property can include cars, savings accounts, stocks, your business, your computer, your clothes. Anything! You’ll want all of your assets to be protected after your death. First, you should get an appraisal of your property. You’ll also need to know whether your state has estate taxes or inheritance taxes. And finally, depending on how big your estate is, you might want to consider professional help.
MORE FOR YOU
So much of our lives exist online today that you’ll want to share your passwords with someone you trust. This doesn’t just include important online banking information, but also our social media handles. It feels unsettling to consider what happens to your Facebook page after you die, but this is something you want to be prepared for. You can add a Facebook legacy contact for this. Google also has a feature that can turn over access after a certain period of time, which is helpful for email. And remember to back everything up. That way you can easily transfer your files over to someone you trust.
These things aren’t exactly fun to think about or plan for, but like everything else, you’ll feel better and more in control when everything has been dealt with. Sharing the process with your family, friends, and partners will also make this feel much less morbid. Chip away at it and then you can move on to the more enjoyable parts of life.