How do you help those you love after you're no longer with them?
Hey there Beautiful,
There are those people who can speak matter-a-factly about death and what should happen when someone passes away and then there are those who press their hands clamped over their ears, eyes shut tight, while singing loudly as they run from the room to avoid the conversation.
If you haven’t figured it out by now but I’m one of the ones who will speak matter-of-factly.
I’m one of the ones who will ask the hard questions since I don’t want to have questions when the person I love is no longer around. I don’t want to be dealing with frustrating issues like searching for life insurance policies through an avalanche of paper, when I want to be taking the time to grieve.
In an effort to get you thinking about what to do to get your documents in order I invited Jennifer Gumbel onto the show. She’s an estate planning and probate attorney located in Minnesota..
Jen and I love to geek out on this stuff so our enthusiasm shows.
BUT the biggest thing I want you to take away from this episode is to get your documents in order!
Check your bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, titles to cars, and deeds to houses and make sure they are set up the way you want them.
Double check that beneficiaries are listed on everything that can have a beneficiary.
You do not want to die and then all of your life insurance goes to your ex-spouse because you forgot to update the beneficiary after the divorce!
Trust me. I’ve seen it happen. And then communicate with the person who will be in charge of your assets after you pass away.
Talking about hard topics now will make it so much easier after you’re gone for them to deal with everything.
Don’t have the attitude that you’ll be dead so who cares! They’ll have to deal with it!
No, no, no, no, no.
You don’t want your family to question whether or not you want to be on life support for the rest of your life since you didn’t talk about it or took it one step further and written down in a medical directive.
Remember every state or country is different so if you need help, find a lawyer that will answer your questions to avoid getting in hot water.
So who is Jennifer Gumbel?
When she grew up, being a lawyer was never on her radar.
She wanted to become a teacher but as she went through college, she quickly learned that she didn’t have the high energy to keep up with little kids or get young adults interested in something.
After shadowing a small-town attorney in her hometown of Brandon, South Dakota, she knew the law was for her. She really dug “death law”, otherwise known as probate law and estate planning. She was also specifically prepared for it in a way most lawyers aren’t. Her father suddenly died from an aggressive cancer when she was fourteen.
People, lawyers included, are weird about death and can be unsure how to approach the issue. But Jennifer isn’t weird about death and she’s practical on how to approach it. Helping people walk through legal issues or reducing the legal to-do list they’ll leave for their loved ones is her super power.
She shares the tools and information that those working in “death law” wish every client knew coming in and shows people when and why working with an attorney is important. It’s her way of swiping at death.
Without further ado, here’s my interview with Jen.
What you will learn in this episode:
- Why it’s important to get good documents: a trust, a will, a power of attorney, and a medical directive
- You need to know what you have and how to organize it for your loved ones.
- What documents should you have all in one place (hint: like in a binder.)
- What's the first question a lawyer might ask you after someone passes away.
- What’s the biggest financial piece of your estate planning that gets missed.
- The two types of buckets that your assets will fall into once you pass away.
- What you need to DIY without a lawyer.