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Treece Talk: Leaving A Legacy

Q. I’m still young—why should I bother thinking about estate planning now?

A. No matter your age, economic level, or marital status, estate planning is something EVERYONE needs to address. No one has a crystal ball to see what will happen tomorrow, so the need to have key documents ready and plans in place are a constant.

First, you need a will. You may ask why a will is important if there’s not much to pass on. A will is not just about transferring assets. It can be used to accomplish other tasks, such as naming who should manage your social media accounts once you’re gone or inherit items you’ve accumulated, like collectibles or your car. Don’t burden others with burial expenses. Funerals can be expensive, and if you don’t have the savings to meet those costs, that burden gets shifted to others.

Consider a medical directive. This important document states your wishes for end-of-life care. In the case of an unfortunate accident, a medical directive provides instructions about the level of care you want.

Create a durable power of attorney for health care. In the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, this gives the individual of your choice the legal power to act as a healthcare proxy for you.

These important planning steps can be accomplished at a small cost!

Invest an hour to learn more with David Treece and estate planning attorney Laura Burkhalter at a free no-obligation educational seminar, “Estate Planning 101: From Legalities to Legacies” on Thursday, June 14th, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Miami Shores Brockway Memorial Library. Limited seating - reserve your seat now!

Related Articles

Related Articles:

Estate and Long-Term Care Planning Help for Solo Agers

For boomers without children (Solo Agers), an important question to answer is: What happens when I am no longer physically or mentally able to make decisions for myself?

Many decisions have to be made to create documents such as an advance health care directive or durable power of attorney for health care (called a “living will” in some states); a durable power of attorney for finances and a last will and testament. The act of creating them will force you to survey your support system and determine who you want to make decisions for you if you are physically and/or mentally unable to make them for yourself.

When You Don’t Have a Someone to Make Decisions for You

Feeling squeamish about all this? Here is what happens if you become incapacitated and you have not executed these documents: a court judge will put your case into a conservatorship and will appoint someone (a conservator or guardian) to make decisions on your behalf — a “paid guardian.” The court may not appoint the person you would have selected, especially if they are not related to you or named in any document.

The decisions the conservator makes for your care may be totally different from what you would have chosen for yourself. No matter how vehemently your loved ones argue on your behalf, the conservator will make decisions independently, or in conjunction with a court judge — based on their own belief system and preferences. Read full article ...

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How to Have a Green Funeral: Eco-Friendly Options for End-of-Life Planning

You may not realize this, but the common burial processes many Americans follow after death use mass amounts of materials and chemicals, most of which end up in the ground. Coming to terms with this has inspired some Americans to consider ways to make funerals more eco-friendly — through what’s known as a green funeral.

Green funerals (or green burials) are practiced for many reasons, depending on the person: to conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions, preserve and restore habitats and more. Many expenses are avoided or cut out, too, making a green funeral effective as a cost-saving measure on top of limiting waste and your carbon footprint.

Sonya Vatomsky wrote a story for The New York Times about what is trending in the world of green funerals and what’s available for people to choose. Vatomsky pointed out the stunning statistic from the Green Burial Council, a nonprofit working to encourage environmentally sustainable death care, that traditional American burials put 20 million feet of wood, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluids, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze and 64,500 tons of steel into the ground each year.

Figures like this explain why almost 54 percent of Americans say they would be interested in exploring green funeral options to reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life rituals. Read full article ...

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WATCH VIDEO NOW: Safeguard Your Digital Estate: If you died, what would happen to your email archives, social profiles and online accounts?

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What options do social media services provide for managing a deceased user’s data?

A number of services spell out in their terms of service what someone’s death means for their account, below we look at the options some popular social networking sites provide users.

  • Facebook allows users to set up in advance what they want to do with their account. Users can either choose to memorialize the account or have it permanently deleted. Memorializing the account allows someone to share one last post from the account — in case they want to share funeral plans or post a tribute — change your profile picture and cover photo as well as respond to new friend requests. Any posts shared before the account was memorialized cannot be edited or removed. Facebook’s help center details everything about how these options work.
  • LinkedIn has a similar policy to Twitter, in that deceased users’ accounts will be closed out when requested by a friend or family member as long as they can provide the appropriate paperwork to prove the person is deceased.
  • Google accounts (Google+, Gmail, YouTube and Google search history), like Facebook, provide an option that allows users to make arrangements regarding their intentions for their account after death. The first option is to set up an inactive account feature that essentially acts as a dead man’s switch. The moment Google detects an absence of activity from the user, the arrangements will go into effect, be it having the account deleted or sharing the user’s information with designated individuals. If a user doesn’t set up this feature, their loved ones can contact Google to close out the account or request data; however, it’s up to Google’s discretion to hand over data. As such, it’s probably better to just set up the automatic, inactive account feature because it’ll make things easier for your family or friends.
  • Yahoo! only officially allows verified friends or family to close out the user’s account upon death. Despite the ruling of the Justin Ellsworth court case that required Yahoo! to pass over the information and the passing of FADA in several states, someone cannot request data from Yahoo! or access the deceased person’s account.
  • Pinterest, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Yahoo accounts, can only be closed out upon request by verified friends or family. You can learn more here.
  • Instagram, similar to Facebook, allows friends and family to either request the account of a deceased user be memorialized or deleted, as explained here.
  • Microsoft email accounts (Hotmail, Live, MSN or Outlook) allow users to submit what is called a Next of Kin request. This request allows users to choose what happens to the account if they die — either close it out or keep it active. Unlike Facebook, family and friends won’t get access to the account, but Microsoft will send them a DVD with the account’s data. Other Microsoft accounts like OneDrive or Skype don’t yet have a formal policy (or one that’s publicly posted) around the issue of deceased users.
  • Computers, laptops and smartphones will have their own policies that vary between brands. If you want your family to have access or control over your physical devices after you die, you’re better off giving the passwords to your loved ones directly or making sure your devices are backed up through an online backup account that they have access to. As we saw with the Apple vs. FBI showdown last year, even if they have the means of granting access to devices, most companies aren’t willing to do so. That said, some brands, like Apple, will allow loved ones to factory reset devices so that they can use them after the owner dies, but they will not help someone retrieve the device’s data.

Read full article here...