Estate Planning: 10 Things That Make the Road to Heaven Smoother

a sunrise - or sunset - estate planning
a sunrise - or sunset - estate planning

This isn't an ugly mother-in-law story. Actually, I loved my mother-in-law, and her death at 85 was painful -- far more painful than it really needed to be because she hated to talk about what she considered her personal affairs -- especially when it involved money. And the rest of us didn't want to bring up the subject either. Honestly, I would rather have asked her about her sex life than explore what she intended to do with the cash she had spent her lifetime squirreling away.

Death snuck up on my mother-in-law. On New Year's Eve, she was out with eight of her widowed friends until after 1 a.m. and 15 days later, we held the funeral service. For at least the next six months, we're going to be sorting through the confusion, trying to decide what Mom would have wanted.

If you're a mom (or a dad), vow not to put your kids through this kind of hell when you go to heaven. Here are 10 pieces of estate planning information they'll need to put you and your affairs to rest.