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Consider the cost of avoiding end-of-life planning

As a life planner, I like to have real discussions with people about their lives — where they are now, financially and personally, and where they want to be at the end of their lives. It continues to amaze me how many people don’t like to discuss the end of their lives, believing somehow that discussing their death will hasten it. What about you? Is death a topic you prefer to avoid?

Have you considered the cost those left behind will pay if you fail to plan?

Here are some potential consequences:

• In addition to grief, the first thing a bereaved family must confront is planning and paying for a funeral. Will your family have to establish a GoFundMe page or deplete all their savings to afford it? Life insurance can take care of the cost. If you don’t own life insurance, are older or in poor health, using a funeral home pre-planning service may be a good option. If you have life insurance, purchasing one of these plans may be unnecessary. Consult with your insurance agent to review your policy. If you are healthy and don’t have life insurance, buying a permanent life insurance policy usually is a smarter financial option.

• As your loved ones plan your funeral, do they know what you want? Do you have a favorite saying, Bible verse or song? Take the time now to write down or share with your family how you would like your funeral conducted. It may sound morbid, but it is actually a gift.

• Will your death leave your spouse, children or those you consider family in financial crisis? If you don’t have life insurance, there is a good chance it will. I have a friend whose husband passed away a couple years ago. She told me the best thing about her husband having life insurance was that the money gave her time to grieve; she didn’t have to force herself to immediately return to work just to keep a roof over her head. His life insurance was a gift to her.

• Do you have any assets or debts? Who do you want to decide how your assets will be distributed or what will be sold to settle your debts? Will your spouse or children be forced to liquidate assets quickly to satisfy financial obligations? These sorts of situations not only are financially costly, but they multiply your loved ones’ grief.

• Are you a business owner? What happens to your business and your employees if you die? Do you have business partners? If so, do you want to be partners with their spouse or children? If not, will they have to almost bankrupt your business to buy them out? Do your partners have enough cash flow to pay someone to do what you do? Life insurance can help solve these problems.

I urge you to reconsider avoiding of the subject of death and consider the cost to you or your loved ones if you choose not to address it. In planning for my death, I am leaving a gift for my loved ones — a gift that not only provides for them financially, but includes a legacy of love, faith and wisdom. What about you?


Kathy Rogers is the vice president of Marston Rogers Group, a life planner and financial consultant. Reach her at (228) 206-5902 or at kathy@marstonrogers.com.

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