Why Is Talking About And Planning For Death Important? | St. Louis Public Radio

Why Is Talking About And Planning For Death Important?

Jul 10, 2013

Some of the most important decisions one can make in life are about death.  They are legacy decisions which require advance preparation about how end-of-life wishes should be carried out.

Many of the decisions involve terms such as probate, will, trust, medical directive and power of attorney.   According to Stephanie Payne and Melissia Riddle roughly 70 percent of the population does not have all of their end-of-life paperwork in place.

Host Don Marsh spoke with Payne, a practicing Registered Nurse of thirty years and author of The Sandbox Wars: End of Life Decisions, The Most Important Gift To Your Family, and Riddle, an estate planning attorney at the Riddle Law Group.

“A will is better than having nothing but when you have just a basic will then you are going to be subject to probate.  That is going to have to be filed with a court and the court will have the ultimate say-so in that matter,” Riddle said.  “For most of my clients, they like to pair a will with what we call a living trust, which is a trust they put in place during their lifetime which remains a private document.  It keeps those assets out of the probate, it keeps them private and it keeps down the expense related to probate.”

Riddle and Payne also pointed out that it’s important to make decisions in advance.

“We need to start making our decisions when we buy a car or buy a house, anything that has a title or a deed.  It’s a part of our estate and at that point, or as soon as you have children, that’s the time to start to get your estate plan done because if you don’t, sudden death can really put a rollercoaster on families,” Payne said.

Follow St. Louis on the Air on Twitter - @STLonAir