5 Powerful Planning Lessons from Death

by Bill High  |  March 23, 2017


After a difficult fight with leukemia, my mother-in-law, Sue Replogle, recently passed away. She lived a great life of faith and service. Our family was truly amazed by all the people who shared with us the kind ways she had served them.

Even in the aftermath of her passing, we found more ways that Sue had served her family. She wanted to make things easy for us—the least amount of complication possible. What were the simple things she undertook?

1. An Executed Will. She had a completed will with a general power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. Just having those documents saved us countless hours and far fewer discussions with advisors, etc.

2. A Gift List. As part of her will, she made a personal property list. That list allowed her to make decisions about who would receive particular items of sentimental value and communicated thoughtful affirmation to her family.

3. Beneficiary Designations. One of the simplest things she did was to make her two daughters beneficiaries of all her bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. This allowed for the accounts to transfer easily without probate.

4. A Prepaid Funeral Plan. In the days following her passing, many of our decisions were quicker and easier in the midst of a difficult time because Sue had a prepaid funeral plan. We knew what she wanted and could just execute on her plan.

5. Communication. The biggest gift that Sue gave us was her willingness to venture into an area that’s difficult—talking about death and how to order your affairs.

There’s so much more that I could write. I’m so proud of Sue. She was so much more than a mother-in-law, and even in her passing she was giving. Part of that giving was creating clarity and simplicity for her loved ones.

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