No one ever wants to think about the possibility of a serious accident or death occuring before reaching an “old age.” Yet, since no one knows when you will go, it’s important to address the issue in order to help ease the pain and stress of those you leave behind.
If you fall into severe illness or injury:
- “Who will make decisions regarding your medical care?”
- “Who will be allowed to visit you in the hospital?”
- “If you fall into a coma, stop breathing, or your heart stops beating, will you be placed on life-support? If so, for how long? “What will happen when you die?”:
- “Will you be buried or cremated?
- “Who will be responsible for your funeral or memorial service?”
- “Will your spouse and/or children automatically receive your property?”
- “Will other family members have access to your belongings?”
- “Who will handle your finances?”
- “How will your family be taken care of financially?”
- “Who will be responsible for taking care of your children and will they have the means to do so?”
If you do not already have answers to these questions, you should take some time to answer them.
If you already have the answers to these questions, it’s important that the answers are legally formalized to prevent and/or minimize unnecessary confusion, stress, and disputes for those who survive you.
-If you are ever deemed to be in an “End-Stage Medical Condition” (i.e. an incurable and irreversible medical condition that will in the opinion of the attending physician to a reasonable degree of medical certainty result in death, despite the introduction or continuation of medical treatment.), and you have not already declared what your wishes are regarding treatment or who should carry out your wishes, by default your closest kin and/or friends will be asked to make decisions for you. This usually leads to problems because disputes arise among family members and friends. Basically, there is no way to be sure who will step in on your behalf and what decisions they will make unless you have a plan in place ahead of time.
-If you die without a testamentary instrument (such as a will or a trust) that outlines your wishes regarding your money, property and children, your money and property may pass to someone whom you do not want it to pass and your children may end up in the care of someone that would not have been your chosen caregiver. Additionally, your family members will likely end up disputing about what “you wanted” to do with your assets; leading to unnecessary family feuds.
-If you die without the proper insurance, savings, or other plan in place, several major problems could arise. Your family will likely be faced with financial stress because they will have to figure out how to pay for and plan your funeral or memorial service, your bills, and also try to maintain everything else you left behind.
While it’s easier to believe that you will not pass away anytime soon, especially for those in the younger age brackets, the fact of the matter is, you never know when you will leave this earth. It’s always better to be safe and prepared. Have consideration for your loved ones you may leave behind; take time to answer the questions above, and formalize them.
In order to make very important decisions regarding the above issues, you must first know the basics. See my blog post: “The Basics of Wills & Trusts” for more information.