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By Jaclyn Felder-Strauss, Full-Time Faculty School of Business Published March 2014
There are many topics in financial planning that are worthy
of discussion; however, one that we may find a bit uncomfortable speaking of and
planning for is the end of life. Financial planning around the end of life is imperative
as it can leave our survivors prepared to handle our estate in the most
effective and efficient way possible. When many hear the word “estate,” the
wealthy come to mind; however, this is not necessarily the case. Financial
planning applies to those who have millions in the bank or just one dollar to
What to plan for?
According to the AICPA,* there are many aspects of end-of-life
financial planning, including planning for your advanced directives, planning
for the care and guardianship of your dependents, planning for your property
and assets –(i.e., titles on property and insurance benefits), and planning for
the preservation of the overall value of your estate.
What are the financial
The end of life does bring some cost as well, especially if
there were medical costs leading up to your death. You can plan in advance to
ensure that your family is not burdened with these expenses after your passing
by moving assets to cover costs. There is also planning for funeral costs in
advance, which is becoming more common. A funeral can be one of the largest costs
to a family and should be considered in your overall financial plan. Your
survivors may be entitled to government programs such as social security. Informing
your survivors of any benefits before you are gone can shorten the time they
may need to wait to access these benefits.
How to plan?
There are many details to think about and the assistance of a
CPA, a financial planner, or even an attorney can be helpful during the
process. There are also tools that one can purchase to help organize the
information either electronically or on paper. Regardless of the direction that
one plans to take for this inevitable life event, it will serve everyone
affected well and lift the potential burden off of those who survive you.
*AICPA PFP Division
and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. 2013. A Guide to Financial Decisions. online at http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/PersonalFinancialPlanning/Resources/ElderPlanningServices/DownloadableDocuments/hospiceguide.pdf (accessed 2013).
Span, Paula. 2013. Help for Planning End-of-Life Care Online
at http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/help-for-planning-end-of-life-care/?_r=0 (accessed January 10, 2013).
is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in
this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
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