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The Finances of Dying: Tips to Consider

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

The Finances of Dying: No one wants to talk about terminal illness, death or the fact that it will happen to all of us, eventually. It is an unpleasant conversation, but it must be done! As we live and work, we tend to accumulate a myriad of things- both tangible and intangible.

While many of us may not care about these things while we are dying, those we love and leave behind will be left with it. If we do not plan and prepare our loved ones for our departure, we will leave them with a mess of financial decisions that will be difficult to manage. There are many inevitable complications surrounding the finances of dying.

Put simply, if you have a surviving spouse or loved one who depends on you for their well-being (financial or otherwise), financial planning for death is a must. We owe it to them to do something useful with the things we accumulate especially if they are of value.

While personal goods such as jewellery, watches or heirlooms are easy to distribute, by way of a written instruction or a will, financial matters are more complex.

Finances of dying to consider are taxes, cashflow, power of attorney and delays while estates are being wound up, insurances and watertight protection against litigation. If you have money it is a guarantee someone will be after it.

Financial planning for death is a way to ensure that the wealth you have accumulated in your life is preserved for those whom you want to benefit when you are no longer there. Financial planning for death is an important legal document to the writing of your will. The will says “what”, the financial plan says “how”.

Money is not at the forefront of conversations when someone is dying. However, discussing the finances of dying is an important conversation to have. These are some top tips and suggestions when it comes to the finances of dying.

finances of dying coins in cup with sapling

Finances of Dying: Planning For Death

(so your loved ones don’t have to)
With careful consideration of the finances of dying, and analysing a few critical areas of your life, you can rest easy knowing your loved ones will be secure and provided for when you are no longer around.

Speaking to a Financial Planner

When you are dying, there is a lot happening. It is inevitable that medical and long term care will be top-of-mind. From doctors appointments and deteriorating health, it takes extra effort to speak with a financial adviser. However, financial planners can help. They can provide answers to many questions surrounding insurance companies, bank accounts, income tax, credit cards, death benefits, health care payments, safe deposit boxes and more. Most people have good intentions when it comes to seeking financial advice. Speaking with a financial planner will help you make decisions about what you should do with your money and the best course of action you should take.

Speaking to Someone You Can Trust

There are times in life where thinking about the future is exciting. Inversely, there are also times when talking about the future can be awkward or uncomfortable, like planning for your death. There is much to be done in the preparation for death, but there is no rule that says that you need to do it alone! There is no shame in asking for help and advice in financial planning for death. Additionally, our friends and family may have good leads to people you can trust with this important aspect in planning for the future.

Being Prepared

It’s no secret that a lot of us feel clueless and helpless when financial planning for death. Not having a secure plan could leave your loved ones dependant and strapped for income! When you meet with a financial advisor, ensure you do some homework and come prepared. Have an idea about what you have in your wealth portfolio. Specific questions you need answers to include: • What are the tax implications of my death? • Ask about life insurance and where this is best kept from a tax perspective- in or out of super funds • Ask about the best way to have cashflow for your loved ones after death. Wills can take a long time to be finalised. • Ask about future investment strategies • Ask for advice and suggestions
Financial planning for death hand of coins
finances of dying making a ist

Finances of Dying: More to Consider

Don’t Buy Anything- Yet

The financial advisor makes money by selling you a product, so don’t buy- yet. Take all the advice they give and cross-check it with your accountant, lawyer and family. Think about the objectives you want. Don’t look at this meeting as a one-way conversation. It’s an opportunity to determine whether they are a good fit for you. You should never invest or do anything you do not understand. Do not expect to make big decisions the first time you sit down with a financial planner. You have got some learning to do first!

Trusting Yourself

Planning your future and financial planning for death often requires turning to a financial adviser whom you can trust for guidance. However, not everyone is always honest and honourable. If it looks and feels wrong, it probably is! There are never “get rich quick “schemes, or fantastic investment opportunities. “Trust me” is not an instruction or a guarantee, it should ring an alarm bell and raise a red flag. Why does someone need to tell you to trust them? What are they hiding? Think about what you are doing and planning. Ask your spouse or children for their opinions. Remember, If anything is “too good to be true”, it generally is.

Do it and Review It

We all owe it to not only to ourselves but to our loved ones to ensure that we have a valid financial plan in place. We have all heard horror stories of friends and family members who have died without a financial plan. By having a clear picture of your financial state, you can begin to identify areas of strength and weaknesses. This helps formulate substantive goals and plans for the future- after you are gone. Reevaluating and updating your plan are critical steps in the financial planning for death. If you need to make changes, invest differently or change some things in you will make work of it and do it. If you change your mind or are not happy with the way things are going, do it again, make the changes. Nothing is ever set in concrete. Death and dying is an extremely tumultuous time and we owe it to our loved ones to ensure that that there is a valid financial in place. This makes sure that you can have peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones are taken care of.
Finances of dying road in fall
Finances of dying mountain climbing

The Reality Of the Finances Of Dying

Failing to plan the finances of dying will leave your loved ones without financial support in the short run as well as cost them money in the long run. As many of your assets will be tied up and delayed, your family could be in financial trouble after your death. By taking the time now to financially plan for death, you ensure that your loved ones are covered while your assets are delayed as well as help them in their future.

If you have found this useful or want to share your experiences, share your thoughts and suggestions, stories and experiences with us. We would love to hear from you.


Finances of Dying

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More Information and Resources

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Our Resources

Don’t let dying be a plane crash disaster. Talking about dying has never killed anyone! If you or someone you know has an incurable illness, it is recommended to have discussions about the fear of dying early.

Looking for more information on the fear of dying? Stickman is an everyday guy who is here to help confront the issues of death and dying.

Dying To Understand is a not-for-profit Charity. Click Below for our Green Page Directory for more Death and Dying Resources.

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When it comes to dying, we can never be too prepared. Death has a way of being permanent and anything left undone remains undone. There is a lot to do, but don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list of things that need to be done or organised, and use our tool to help make sure you’ve got it all covered.

Finances of dying mountain climbing


When it comes to death and dying, expressing your views via legally supported documentation is essential. Usually, these legal documents take the form of testaments and wills, a power of attorney, estate planning and other matters your lawyer may consider. Whatever you do, try to avoid doing it yourself as it won’t survive if the vultures come, as they do, after death. Money spent on good legal documents and advice turns out to be cheap in comparison to drawn-out court cases when someone contests a will.

Financial planning for death hand of coins


Stay in control even when you are not. When your health is fading, and death is nearer, medical care will undoubtedly increase and your wishes associated with this care are important.

Important things to consider to support the dying process are advanced directives, resuscitation instructions and, most importantly, exploring the benefits of palliative care. It’s important, for living and for dying, to be informed.

how to cope with bereavement - wheelchair on pavement

Estate Planning & Financial Matters

Even though you cannot take it with you when you die, you do want to ensure that your assets are protected. Seeking financial advice about estate planning before dying is essential. Why pay unnecessary tax and fees if you can avoid it. Seeking professional help to ensure your estate and other assets are safe and directed where you want, is of utmost importance for both you and your family or friends.

surviving death feather

Funerals and Cremations

After death comes the funeral or the farewell. Most people think of funerals or cremations negatively. They are not bad, they are events that play an essential function in society and are an important part in the dying process in that they honour the life lived, deal with grief and, most importantly, dispose of the deceased body. 

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Man giving a helping hand

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