Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Who would be left to deal with your affairs after your death? Do you have a partner or children who would be able to take on this responsibility? Most assume that their loved ones will take over this role when needed. But what if you do not have anyone to do this for you?
Consider others in your extended family and community. Do you know of any elderly family, friends or neighbours that do not have any local family – or maybe even no family at all?
More people are choosing not to have children. Some may have sadly outlived their children. Some may have lost their partner. Or their partner could have been taken in to care, leaving them incapable of dealing with such matters.
We are now geographically spread more than ever. As people live further away from their extended families, it can be more physically challenging to resolve someone’s life from a long distance
Families become estranged. If you no longer have contact with your family, who would act on your behalf? If approached, these removed family members may refuse to have any involvement in dealing with your estate.
You may have a large, tight knit family. But consider who actually knows all of your private details. Would they know where important information is located and where to begin, should they be called upon for this task in the future?
Mixed and blended families are an added complexity. The different family members may have conflicting ideas as to what should happen with your estate, making this a further challenging process.
When the time comes, who will be there to deal with your life after death?
This abandoned house is sadly not an uncommon sight.
Seeing this overgrown house, unable to reach the front door is a stark reminder that not everyone has a loving, close family that could – or would – deal with their affairs after death.
What lies behind that door? Has anything changed inside since the day the person left?
What is the condition inside like? How long has it been empty for?
So what? It is just an empty house!
So why is this house such a problem? It is a reminder that not everyone would have someone to help unravel their affairs when they are gone.
Look again at this house. The door is almost inaccessible. The Postman probably gave up a long time ago trying to deliver mail. Unpaid bills, unresolved accounts and possibly money that should have been left to distant relatives – maybe all still be sat in that empty house. There could be valuables and treasure left behind with no one to be passed on to.
The neighbours are most likely affected by property issues from living next door to this abandoned house. There may be damp issues or possible water leaks that could impact on their property. There would be no one to contact to help with access to get their repairs done. Living next door to an unsightly building, vulnerable to squatters and ongoing disrepair – this would have an impact on the value of the neighbouring property too.
It is also a potential new family home that could benefit someone in that local community.
How can we plan ahead?
Consider your own circumstances and who would be your ‘go-to’ person. Who would be able to process your life after your death?
If you are child-free and the last surviving spouse, who would do this for you? How close are you to your extended family? Consider where would they begin – as well as would they have the time or inclination to help.
If you have a complex family situation or are estranged, start by making a clear plan of all of your affairs in one central place. Start by arranging your will to ensure your legal affairs are in order. This will provide clarity should there be any conflicting family issues.
Use the services of an estate planner. Ensure your estate is properly mapped out including how it should be dealt with and who should benefit from it.
Regularly de-clutter your home to avoid leaving a mountain of practical items and paperwork for others to resolve.
Create your own Sunset Plan using our secure digital vault service to take care the practical details that others will one day need. This is a gift to others. It will make the challenging process a little easier to deal with in the future.
Make it part of your regular life planning
Have a good think about your own situation – as well as your family and friends. If you would no idea where to start with someone else’s affairs after their death, gently start this conversation.
Discuss how it would be helpful to know where important information is located. This is helpful should it be needed for any emergency – not just death.
If you are estranged from your family or have no family, think about what arrangements you need to put in place for your future. It is not something people like to plan for yet it is inevitable for everyone.
Create your own Sunset Plan. Why not encourage family members and friends to do the same? Support others through the process, even if it feels uncomfortable for them. This information will be constantly changing so make sure you regularly update your Plans.
Make this process part of your normal life planning. Hopefully one day you will feel relieved that you did. It may just help avoid more abandoned house scenarios.
Why not share this post on social media? It may encourage someone you care about to consider their circumstances and start to plan ahead.