Estate planning is a complex subject. It involves laws that could change — and therefore change your tax benefits, creditor shielding protections and so on.
However, it also involves a human element. There will be people involved: your heirs, your executor and your other friends and family members.
Planning for grief
If you were like most people, you make an estate plan because you want to prepare for the inevitable. Therefore, it might make sense to also consider the inevitable emotional reaction to your death that your loved ones would have.
In general terms, this reaction is grief. However, as explained by the American Psychological Association, grief is a complex emotion that manifests differently based on the individual and the situation.
Giving room to heal
Your loved ones would likely have many things to deal with after your death: funeral plans, the disposition of your property, celebrating your life and various other necessities. All of these could make it more difficult for them to process their grief, getting in the way of healthy recovery habits:
- Communicating with others about their loss
- Maintaining physical health
- Practicing traditional or personal observances
- Accepting the reality of your death
Forming a caring strategy
Most estate plans would focus on enabling a smooth transfer of your wealth and property. They would also probably attempt to ensure that people could carry out your wishes in the event you could no longer make decisions.
However, estate planning could also give you an opportunity to make your loved ones’ lives easier. In many cases, helping them process their grief could go beyond an act of kindness, making it more likely for them to be able and willing to carry out your final directions.