By Mr. Robert P Johnson (Leonard Wood)March 17, 2016
If your life ended tomorrow, how prepared would your Family be?
This isn't a commercial about life insurance, but more, how would your Family be able to meet your desires and how they transition to a life without you.
Recent events in my life have shown me how truly difficult the process of losing a loved one can be. Simple questions, such as what type of service or memorial would you want, may seem silly as you walk about, but can be excruciatingly painful for Family members who have to make these decisions in a very short window of time without your input.
Everyday things that we routinely take for granted can become stressful and painful for those left behind. A simple task such as paying bills or changing accounts for automatic payments turn into aggravation without account numbers, log in names and passwords. A Family who loses the person who normally pays all the bills can suddenly find themselves lost in a sea of bureaucracy.
There is hope, but it takes a little planning on your part. According to the website, www.oktodie.com (yes, that is an actual site), following a checklist is the best way to make sure you don't leave details out. The website offers a variety of checklists, including how to build your bucket list.
First, everyone should have a will, and actually not just one. There are really two types of wills; one while you cling to life and the other when your grip on life is gone.
A living will is the document your loved ones would need if you were suddenly placed onto life support. The decision to terminate ventilators and other devices to keep you alive would be up to a Family already in grief.
A final will can help with your desires on what to do with your personal effects, such as who gets your home, car or your copy of Radioactive Man No. 1. I've seen the best and worst come out in relatives when a loved one passes, and that is mainly due to who wanted what and how much.
If you don't have a will, the Legal Assistance office here on Fort Leonard Wood can help. They can assist you with putting together the right legal documents or point you in the right direction. You can set up an appointment to create that will by calling 573.596.0131, ext. 60629.
But a will isn't the only document you should prepare.
Back to oktodie.com as they suggest storing information on your accounts, insurance policy numbers and contact information in a secure place, but make the document known to select Family members. A letter describing how or what you want at your memorial or service is also a huge burden removed from a grieving Family.
Talk to your Family about finances and other monetary issues. You don't have to go into specifics on how much is available, but those five shares of Walmart you bought back in the 90s shouldn't be discovered by an archeologist a century from now. Life for your Family after your death shouldn't be a scavenger hunt.
And don't forget your furry friends. Sometimes it would be very beneficial for the Family to know of your wishes concerning your pets.
Establishing a will, having plans and communicating that information to your loved ones won't replace you or reduce the grief, but it will make things easier for them. Plan today, because none of us know what tomorrow will bring.