Before death, there are some steps that can be taken to help our loved ones to better cope with this difficult time.
Death is a taboo subject in all families. No one wants to think that, someday, we will miss one of our loved ones; or, perhaps, ourselves. However, reality hits us every day. We have all lost someone very dear to us or know someone who has. It may even have been totally unexpected and unforeseeable.
So we will all have to face the difficult moment of saying goodbye to a family member or friend. However, there are some things that can be done before death to help those closest to us. Bureaucracy is unforgiving even in bad times.
Making a will
It is one of the biggest taboos. Making a will is not at all pleasant and it is normal that it makes us feel a bit scared just thinking about it. However, it is very helpful to family members, as well as to ourselves, because it contains our last will and testament. It is very useful for two reasons in particular: the future of children and finances.
1. Appointing a legal guardian for the children
Thinking of the children is one of the reasons for making a will before death. In case something happens to us and they are still young, a legal guardian should be appointed. The person we choose will be in charge of taking care of them and managing the assets we leave them. Several guardians can be appointed, if desired, and it is not a mandatory position, so they can refuse it.
2. Appoint an executor
An executor is the person in charge of managing and inventorying the deceased’s estate. It is not a mandatory position either, so we must be sure that the person we choose is in agreement. It is a figure that helps to speed up the procedures, especially if there are minor heirs. In case there is no executor, the Administration is in charge of the distribution and management of the inheritance, which usually delays the deadlines.
What happens if I do not make a will before my death?
The spouses are the most affected if a person does not make a will. When someone dies without making a will, the Civil Code dictates who his or her legal heirs are. In the first place, children and parents inherit. Next, the spouse, siblings and nieces and nephews. And lastly, the rest of the relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity (first cousins, grandnephews, grandnieces and granduncles and granduncles).
Thus, when there is no will, the inheritance is distributed according to this order of priority. If a mother dies, the heirs will be the children. And, if she was married but had no children, her parents will inherit. If there are children or parents, the spouses only inherit the legitimate, which is a percentage established by law that does not have to correspond to the will of the deceased. For example, in some cases, it may mean that the spouse does not keep the home he or she shared with the deceased.
If our desire is that our spouse inherits our property, it is essential to make a will before our death. This advice is also valid if you want to leave something to other more distant relatives or even to companies or foundations.
Making a living will
The living will, advance directives document or advance directives will is a procedure that can be done before death and collects the last wishes of a person. It does not intervene in financial matters, but in matters relating to your health and what you want to happen if you become ill and can no longer look after yourself. In other words, it informs our loved ones of what we want for our last moments, in case we cannot tell them.
In this way, it is a document that details aspects such as:
Cremation or traditional burial
Whether to donate organs
Instructions and limits on medical care if you have an irreversible or terminal illness.
For this procedure to be valid, it must be done before a notary and with three witnesses, who must not be close relatives (children, parents, aunts, uncles or nephews) or have an economic relationship with the person. Afterwards, it is taken to the Registry of Advance Directives of the corresponding autonomous community.
To have a funeral insurance that takes care of the funeral.
The funeral is one of the hardest steps for a family that has just lost a member. It involves paperwork and, above all, many expenses. According to a study by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), a complete burial, without ostentation, costs around 3500 euros. Think that you have to pay for the coffin, the obituaries, the flowers, the funeral parlor… In total, that can be a big outlay for the family and, perhaps, they will have to go into debt to assume it.
Having Life Insurance to Help Your Family
Life insurance is a huge support for those who have lost someone. Unfortunately, the bills keep coming when someone passes away. For that reason, leaving one of these policies in place will go a long way in helping our loved ones cope with the expenses to come.
It is estimated that the ideal is to insure five years of full salary plus any other debts we may have. That is to say: if you earn 20,000 euros a year and you have a mortgage of 100,000 euros to pay, you should at least take out a policy for 200,000 euros. Thanks to this money, your family will be able to maintain its standard of living for another five years, even if you are no longer with us.
Keep in mind that the beneficiaries of the life insurance policy do not necessarily have to coincide with the heirs of the will. However, if no beneficiary is specified in the policy, it will be the legal heirs who will receive the indemnity, which will be added to the inheritance.
In addition, there are many life insurance policies that include burial expenses. This means that not only do they compensate you if you die, but they also give you the money that the funeral costs, up to a maximum amount. In this way, they can replace funeral insurance and protect you more.
An extra tip: inform your family about life insurance.
You can find out if a person had life insurance, even if he or she didn’t tell you. All policies are registered in the Registry of Insurance Contracts for Death Coverage, which is public and depends on the Ministry of Justice. If a person dies, you can request information from the registry to obtain all the details of the contract, if there was one. In this way, the agreed compensation is obtained, even if the beneficiary did not know that there was insurance.
In spite of this, the most convenient thing to do is to notify our beneficiaries and heirs that we have life insurance. In this way, they will be able to get the indemnity earlier and we will avoid asking for these papers from the registry.
Gathering important information in one place
Undoubtedly, the procedure that will help your family the most in the event of your death. After the death of a person, many documents have to be prepared, certificates have to be requested, services have to be terminated… For this reason, it is essential that they have all the important information about you at hand.
Basic personal data: full name, date of birth…
Social Security data
Documentation of the vehicles
Passwords and social network accounts, so that they can be deleted.
Banking information, especially if you are the sole holder of an account or financial product
Insurance information and the existence of a will or living will
Simplifying the bureaucracy before death
Paperwork multiplies when a person dies. To help our relatives, it will be very useful to do these formalities before death. This alone will make the days following our death much easier for them.
If you have any questions about life insurance, you will find a lot of information on our blog. In our comparator you can quickly see the prices and coverages of the main companies. Believe it or not, it is much cheaper than it seems. It’s normal that it’s scary to think about what to do before you die, but you and your loved ones deserve the best protection, no matter what happens.