IN CASE OF DEATH
Are you a fan of the show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”? I highly recommend it – A clever storyline, terrific music, singing, and dancing, and great characters. You will love it!
The reason I bring it up is because of a particular event that happens to the family. Without giving too much away, a loved one dies, and while struggling with grief, his wife cannot get access to his financial records and other important information, compounding her suffering.
If given the choice, I think most people would like to make things easier for their loved ones when they die. We wouldn’t on purpose set out to make life miserable for those we leave behind. But it can happen when we don’t plan for our death.
I get it – this is not a comfortable subject. We don’t want to even think about having a life without all of our sweeties with us. And a good way to not think about it is to not think about it at all.
But, not thinking about it doesn’t make it not happen. As we all know, it is going to happen.
As someone who is organized and likes to plan, I have actually had this on my mind for a while. We have some things in place, but I am confessing, Darren and I are not very prepared. If I died today, he would not know what bills need to be paid when or how, and would not know how to access important passwords. If he died, it would take a lot of work on my part to find his work life insurance information, and that is not something either of us will want to do when our heart is broken.
So let’s chat about this today.
It would be super valuable to plan and organize your thoughts, wishes, information, and affairs for your loved ones after you die or are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Why do we plan and organize anything? To improve our experiences. When we plan our day, we hope to have a smooth, productive outcome. When we plan a dinner, a holiday, or a vacation, we are increasing the odds that they will be wonderful. The same is true for less enjoyable times – Planning to study and get good sleep and breakfast on the day of an exam will increase our success. And when we organize anything at all, it makes using those things a much better experience, decreasing feelings of frustration and of being overwhelmed.
So it only makes sense to apply what we know about planning and organizing to an event that will absolutely happen, as unpleasant as it may be to consider. And because no one knows exactly when that will happen, it will be better to set these plans in motion sooner rather than later.
It can be hard to think of everything you need to share, and I am certainly not able to come up with all the things that may be important to each of you, so I am including some great resources available to help with this.
Here are just a few things that need to be considered:
- Upon disability or death – Wills, trusts, power of attorney, living wills, life insurance info, HIPAA forms
- Personal records – birth certificate, social security number, drivers license, family members contact information, religious contacts, medical records
- Financial and insurance information – bank accounts, investments, mortgages and other loans, credit cards, insurances, safe deposit boxes
- Expenses – utilities, subscriptions, memberships
- Passwords – social media, email, accounts online
- Where this information is stored – backups, copies to loved ones, portable usb drive, journals
Here are a few resources to get you started:
And here are a few guided journals that look incredible helpful:
Having an “In Case of Death” file can absolutely make life after a loved one’s passing less overwhelming. What a great gift to give someone when you cannot be there yourself to comfort them.
Like I said, this is an uncomfortable subject for many. One way to make it less uncomfortable is to discuss, plan, and organize what you would like. Knowing the plan is done ahead of time will bring great peace to you and your loved ones.
Have you done this? Are you like us with a few things in place but not very prepared overall? Please let me know your thoughts and what you plan to do.