Thoughts on living and dying

My brother recently passed away. This caused me to think about the financial and life impacts of life, mortality and death.
  • Designate beneficiaries. Log into your bank and investment accounts and make sure you’ve designated beneficiaries. Also applies to 401k accounts. It’s the simplest way to make sure the money you leave behind goes to the right people. (Beneficiaries trump wills and living trusts.)

  • Create a living trust. (Similar to, but better than a will.) I know you’re young and invincible. But something can happen to anyone. I’ve been in several near-death experiences. If you want to use a lawyer, it’ll probably cost $1,000-$1,500. If you work for a large company, they probably offer a legal plan benefit that is a few dollars per pay period. That’s a great value. (At least for one year, then you can cancel.) There is software you can use, too.

  • Tell people close to you what kind of services you want to have. You can also buy a “pre-need” agreement where the details are defined and paid upfront. This allows you to comparison shop. Please consider organ donation. My brother lived an extra 25 years because of the gift of a kidney and heart.

  • Share your online passwords and phone password with someone you trust. It’s best to use a password manager. You can then share the master password with someone close to you. If you don’t trust someone that much, send half your password to someone and the other half to someone else. Ask the people you love to do the same.

  • Keep in touch with each other! 

  • Make sure to live your life! This is contrary to all of the advice you get from others, but live the life you can live with a thought to tomorrow. My brother saved a lot of money. I wish he’d spent more of it living his life.

This is not legal advice. IANAL.

If you found this post valuable (or even if you didn’t), please consider a donation in my brother’s honor to the Make-A-Wish foundation.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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