Am I Worth More Dead than Alive?

WorthA long-time federal worker or retiree may in fact be worth more dead than alive, especially if you own a house and are still married to your original spouse. If you have life insurance and a Thrift Savings Plan account, it’s also most likely true.

Federal News Network’s article titled “Wonder if you’re worth more dead than alive?” says that in this pandemic, we’re all at risk and some a lot more than others. Therefore, if you have family you want to leave something to, if you leave unexpectedly, is everything in order?

Do you know the difference between having a last will and setting up an estate? Should you have one or both?

If you’re struggling with the answer, you need to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney and figure out what you want to do.

Do you know the function of a power-of-attorney or of a medical directive? If you become gravely ill or injured—perhaps you fall into a vegetative state—do you want the healthcare staff to take heroic measures to keep you alive?

If you don’t make that decision beforehand, you may force a family member to make that decision.  It may not be what you had wanted. It can make a very stressful time even worse for them.

Let’s look at some things you need to consider.

A basic estate plan includes powers or attorney and some documents that instruct your executor how to distribute your assets at your death.

You should have an advance medical directive or health care power of attorney, which designates an individual that you select to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. This document will also include end of life instructions in the form of a living will that state the types of actions you want to have taken on your behalf if you’re terminally ill, in a vegetative state, and if you’re unlikely to recover. A primary concern of a living will is whether you want to be kept alive by artificial means, such as with a ventilator.

You also should have a durable financial power of attorney. This document allows your chosen agent to manage your financial affairs if you’re incapable of managing your own affairs.

Estate planning is more than just a last will. A last will is essential but most people have many assets that will not be impacted by their last wills like a jointly owned property, and life insurance or retirement plans with a designated beneficiary. You must specify how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.

Reference: Federal News Network (July 15, 2020) “Wonder if you’re worth more dead than alive?”

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