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Why Is Talking About And Planning For Death Important?

(via Flickr/Jamiesrabbits)

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.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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