When my parents were in their mid 60’s, they sat me down and told me what I would need to do in the event of their deaths. As I was only in my early 30’s at the time, I really did not want to hear this, and though I listened dutifully, something inside me wanted to scream, “No! No!” I wasn’t ready to face the reality that one day my parents would indeed pass away. They showed me a list of where everything was and who to contact in regard to policies and other matters. As it turned out, my father passed away many years before my mother did, so she handled the details at the time of his death, but when she passed away almost three years ago those tasks fell to me. Though I hadn’t wanted to hear about what I would be required to do at the time, I was grateful my parents had informed me of what I’d need to do. I was grieving, but I knew what to do, knew who to contact, and though it was a very sad time, everything was taken care of smoothly.
As I’ve gotten older, my daughter and I have talked vaguely about what would need to be done if I were incapacitated to the point where I couldn’t speak for myself or had expired, but I hadn’t written down exactly what I wanted and what would need to be done. So last Friday afternoon I wrote down where I would want to be taken for care, what I’m allergic to and my insurance information. I wrote out how I wanted my remains handled at the time of my death. I wrote out how I would like my dog cared for and what my daughter should do if unable to care for him. I wrote what I wanted done with the family pictures, my high school flute and my ukuleles. And that my daughter could keep or donate any of my personal belongings. This is not a notarized document as yet, so I am not entirely sure of the legality of it, but at least I have everything written out and it serves as a road map for the legal document.
Barring unforeseen circumstance, I don’t expect to pass away anytime soon, but it’s been nagging at me for some time that I should do this for my daughter, as my parents did for me. Now that I’ve written it out, I feel a sense of relief that she knows what to do, I know things will be taken care of as I wish, and I won’t have to worry about this anymore.
If you haven’t done something like this for your adult children or whoever you designate to carry out your wishes in time of incapacitating illness or accident or death, do it now. You, and they, will be glad you did.