First Article Published!

Today marks the first day I am a published author! Long story short, I signed up for a free woman’s online finance subscription called DailyWorth. I had seen an article in TechCrunch highlighting the private company and its mission: to provide woman with financial information to empower them, and thought I’d give it a try.

One of the first articles I read was about “how to save for a rainy day and be prepared for the unexpected.” I read through the article and was shocked to see that there was no mention of death (ie of oneself or of a family member) in the article or the importance to be prepared for this. I was MAD, MAD, MAD! For those of you who don’t know, my father passed away almost 5 years ago and I became the trustee of my father’s estate at 22 and handled everything from the estate tax return (yes, you still pay taxes when you die!) to managing properties in 3 states. I know first hand how the death of a loved one, especially a parent, can impact you both emotionally and financially.

Based on my experience, I couldn’t believe that there was no mention of this important topic in the article, particularly because 1) women typically outlive men by 5-10 years and 2) the primary audience of the email subscription is women.  In my opinion, I thought the article was doing a disservice to the individuals who read it.

So, taking after my own dearest mother, I wrote an email to the editor explaining how they missed a key point in the article using my own story as an example. Turns out, they liked what I wrote and asked me to be a contributing editor for their subscription! I was thrilled and honored to be able to share my experience with this community and hopefully help people think about their finances and how to prepare for the worst possible scenario in life: death.  This is the first article I’ve ever published, and I can only hope that it will help people deal with one of the hardest events in one’s life. I’d love to hear your comments and your perspective on this topic!

Here's the article:

Your Pre-Death To-Do List

By JENNIFER HOLLANDSent: Wednesday April 11, 2012
Death is a fact of life. So why do so few of us plan for it? Nearly two-thirds of Americans haven’t done even basic estate planning, according to a recentForbes article. Thankfully, my father wasn’t among them.
As I discovered after he died, there’s a mountain of legal, financial, and accounting work after a death that nobody tells you about. Did you know that you have to file taxes for someone after they die? Or pay their bills on time to avoid penalties?
Do your family a huge favor and look death in the eye long enough to do these five things:
  • Update the contact and beneficiary information in all of your important accounts (retirement, investment, insurances), then set a calendar reminder to check it yearly.
  • Take inventory of all your assets and expenses using our template.
  • Complete a healthcare proxy with your desired medical/ end-of-life instructions.
  • Select someone to serve as executor or trustee to oversee your estate.
  • Review your assets and medical wishes with your executor or trustee, then store the information somewhere secure.
Carpe diem. Have you done anything to make your passing easier on your family?

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