Have You Had The Talk?

'48Sheet billboard art project - Birmingham - High Street Deritend - Digbeth - My last will and testament' photo (c) 2012, Elliott Brown - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Have you had The Talk? While I may have a newly minted teenager, I’m not talking about the birds & the bees here. Have you talked to those you love about their end of life wishes?

I have and on April 3rd, I was REALLY glad I had. I got a call at 8pm from a doctor notifying me my mother was in a crisis situation and asking what my mother’s wishes were for end of life care. I knew, but still had trouble converting that knowledge to words. With a little prompting, I recovered and shared her wishes with the medical team treating her.

In the aftermath of her death, so many people I’ve spoken to, have not had “the talk” with their spouse, their parents, their children. If you haven’t been asked, don’t assume people know what you want. Take the time and write up your wishes. Hell, why not take the extra step and complete a healthcare proxy, AND a living will (some states recognize one, some states recognize the other, it’s best to have both).

Do you have strong feelings about what happens to your body after your death? Do you want a religious funeral? A memorial service? Burial at sea or will you donate your body to science? The truth of the matter here is that you’ll be gone. You won’t have an actual say in what happens, but if you feel strongly, document your wishes and hopefully your loved ones will abide by them as much as they can.

You have a will right? RIGHT???? Yes? Good for you! Do the people closest to you know where to get a copy? Does it need to be updated? Hint if your will talks about custody of your children and the children are buying their first homes, it’s time for an update.

Wait, you don’t have a will? GET ONE NOW!! This isn’t about you. This is about easing the burden on the ones you leave behind. A loved one dying is a stressful situation. A will spells out what should happen to your assets and wordly belongings. If you are really feeling responsible (and I sincerely hope that you are), contact a lawyer and set up trusts that may ease the financial burden on your loved ones.

Speaking of finances, dying ain’t cheap. Depending on where you are in the country and what specifics you choose, cremation can start at $3,500. A full blown burial including a casket etc. can start at $10,000 and go up from there. Got life insurance?

I’m not a lawyer or a financial expert, but I’ve seen it where the estate is settled with relative ease and the family can focus on grieving the loss of a loved one and I’ve seen it when the lack of documentation nearly caused financial ruin for those left behind. Don’t be the jerk that leaves behind a mess. Get your house in order. Losing you will be hard enough for your family and friends. Don’t make it worse.

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