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Add a different element to your estate plan

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Estate Planning

Every adult should draft at least a basic estate plan. Certainly, considering one’s own mortality is never pleasant, but these responsibilities are part of the mantle of adulthood we all assume.

As you move through the stages of life, you should also adopt your estate plan accordingly, as your needs can change markedly once married and/or you have children. 

The bare-bones basic documents

Some crucial documents all adults need to include in their estate plans include the following:

  • Simple wills – Even adults with few assets and no dependents need wills that detail to whom their possessions and resources should go when they pass away. Detail your wishes for the disposition of any vehicles, firearms, bank accounts, jewelry and other personal possessions in a simple will.
  • Medical/legal powers of attorney – Often these are different individuals who are better equipped to act in this capacity.
  • Living wills/advanced life directives – Describe the level of care you wish to have in case of an incapacitating illness or injury.

But some people may want to include a different type of estate planning element.

Döstädning, or the art of Swedish death cleaning

At first, the English translation sounds a bit morbid. In reality, the practice is a helpful tool that can make your loved ones’ lives a little easier while they mourn your death. Basically, it’s a form of spring cleaning, as you rid your life of the unnecessary items you’ve collected over the decades.

Dump the clutter — and more

If you’re like most folks, you have a trove of stuff sentimental only to you. To your survivors, your 7th grade science fair trophy is more likely junk. Get three bins — one for rubbish, one for donating/recycling and one for mementoes your heirs might enjoy now.

We all have personal “stuff” that we might prefer our spouses, children or other survivors not to find after we go. Toss it now, and never worry that their memories of you could ever be tarnished.

Whether you choose to embrace the concept of döstädning or not, it’s always prudent to learn more about the estate planning laws of your state so that you can begin the inevitable process and gain some peace of mind.