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The Impact of Grief on Your Estate Plan

September 1, 2011


No one knows exactly when they will pass away, which means that it is never too soon to plan. Those left behind are called upon to tend to your final affairs, including arranging your funeral, managing your final debts, and possibly even having to probate your estate. If you were to pass away today, would your affairs be left in complete disarray? Or, would you have a plan in place that allows your last wishes to be carried out with the least amount of effort?

When you pass away, your loved ones will be experiencing grief. Grief consists of the emotions and sensations that accompany the loss of someone or something dear to you. Dr. Elisabeth Kübler‑Ross categorized what has become known as the “five stages of grief,” which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. During these stages, your loved ones will also likely experience physical problems, which may include physical exhaustion, uncontrollable crying, sleep disruption, palpitations, shortness of breath, headaches, recurrent infections, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, stomach upsets, hair loss, irritability, worsening of any chronic condition, such as eczema or asthma, and visual and auditory hallucinations. Sometimes grief reactions are so severe that they are mistaken for signs of dementia or severe psychiatric illness. Given the intense effect that grief will have on your loved ones, it is imperative that you create a plan to facilitate the handling of your final affairs. …

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by: Gina M. Barry

September 2011

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