I was obviously never a boy scout, but isn’t their motto “be prepared?”
I mentioned last week that a client I’ve known for 12 years passed away suddenly. He was only in his early 50’s. Here I am out in public, preaching about death, dying and being prepared. The loss of this special man has kept me up at night wondering about what I’ve been doing here at home- meaning my home office. Am I preaching enough right here at home?
NO MATTER WHAT YOUR AGE, BE PREPARED.
Part of dying well, is doing what you need to do when you are living.
No one wants to think about their mortality. The younger you are, the more invincible you think you are. I’ve talked to lots of people who think they will jinx themselves if they prepare wills, etc.
Trust me. For your sake and for the sake of anyone you love, be prepared! Here is a small sampling of ideas:
Live within your means. Period. Pay off your debts and don’t get into any more. If you don’t have the cash, don’t get it.
Write down your wishes. Do you want to be buried? Cremated? Do you want your organs donated?
Do you have any special wishes for a funeral? Memorial service? None? But remember, those rituals in our society are there for those you leave behind. Sometimes it’s important for those of us who are grappling with the fact that you are gone, to go through the morbid rituals we have grown accustomed to.
If you don’t have life insurance, get it. If you do have it, make sure it’s paid up. And make sure your beneficiaries are updated.
Do you need guardians for your children? How will they be cared for if you are gone?
Does your partner or next of kin know how to access your bank accounts? Are your passwords somewhere where people can find them if needed?
It’s ok if only one of you does the day-to-day managing of your affairs. But BOTH of you, MALE AND FEMALE need to understand the situation you are in. Neither of you should ever be vulnerable to the point where you couldn’t completely take over should your partner be incapacitated unexpectedly.
Set it all up legally if you can. Wills, health proxy, power of attorney.
If not, write it down yourself.
If not, at least talk to someone about it.
I usually focus on the emotional pieces, which are also of utmost importance. So it would be remiss of me not to toss in to remember to say “I love you” often. Whether you are angry or hurt or whatever. Don’t go to bed unresolved. Don’t let even a day go by without getting re-connected to the people that are important to you.
I can promise you it really happens. It just happened to that special client of mine. One minute you are waxing your car because the weather has finally broken, and within a couple of hours you have entered the next life.
Handle your stuff. Now. While you are able. Please!