From Grief Comes A Mission To Make Estate Planning Less Daunting | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

    From Grief Comes A Mission To Make Estate Planning Less Daunting

    Play associated audio

    Estate planning may seem like a pain, but imagine the mess you leave to those managing your affairs if you don't draw up a will or get life insurance.

    "It takes really just a few hours now, rather than a pile of hours and thousands of dollars to do it later when you really need it done," says Chanel Reynolds, who created a website geared to help people get their affairs in order.

    The Seattle mother of two launched the bluntly written, one-stop estate planning site after her husband was fatally injured in a biking accident. On top of grief, she faced stress and costs because there was no will or any of the other legal documents needed to handle a loved one's assets.

    "I really wanted to be focusing on what the doctors were saying and taking care of my children when instead I was just overwhelmed by this pile of questions about legal stuff and finances and probate courts, and it was occasionally the thing that would just put me over the edge," Reynolds tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne.

    Her site — which is a NSFW riff on "get your stuff together" — features a checklist and templates for some key documents, including a will, living will and power of attorney. It also suggests compiling online account usernames and passwords and putting these key documents in a safe or scanning and uploading them to a password-protected site.

    Reynolds also suggests setting aside emotional items like photos of yourself, "so that when you're gone people can touch them and hold them and feel them and remember you as well."

    For wills, Reynolds notes that lawyers can help, but there are also affordable online software options. "I didn't realize that creating a will, you don't need a lawyer to do it for you," she says. "In most states you need two witnesses and/or someone to notarize it. And it can save your family weeks and weeks and hundreds of hours of pain and confusion and legal costs that you probably can't afford."

    She suggests that baby boomers, especially, prepare the documents so others won't have to.

    "It is really hard to go clean up after someone," Reynolds says, "so not only do we need to take of this for ourselves, we have to really start thinking about having the conversation with our parents, these boomers, because otherwise we're the ones going out there and taking care of it for them."

    Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    NPR

    A Puzzle With Ch-Ch-Changes

    Every answer is a word starting with "ch," and your clue will be an anagram of the word.
    NPR

    What If The World Cup Were Awarded For Saving Trees And Drinking Soda?

    We thought you'd get a kick out of seeing how the four teams in the final World Cup matches stack up in global health and development.
    NPR

    What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

    NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
    NPR

    Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

    Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

    Leave a Comment

    Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.