Life levels all men, death reveals the eminent
- George Bernard Shaw
5 Things You MUST Do Before You Die
In late January my brother who was four years my senior died unexpectedly, leaving three sons - one of whom is a minor. I was very close to this brother and was shocked and immensely saddened by my personal hero's untimely passing. I was also given the responsibility to sell his business and wind up his personal assets and affairs as his personal representative (executor).
This experience has forever changed me and given me real-life experience in a realm that was previously only theoretical. I hope you will benefit from some of my observations about how everyone should prepare for the unexpected:
1) Keep Records
Record keeping is part of life - no one likes it but its one of those necessary evils that responsible people do. Records don't need to be exhaustive - but you can do your family a great favor by keeping simple records in an easy to find place. You should have at a minimum your will and a list of all your assets/accounts/policies. In addition, it's a good idea to provide a list of passwords with access to online accounts - which could be secured in a safe-deposit box if you have one.
2) Provide Life Insurance
If you have a family which relies upon you for income there is no excuse for not having life insurance. Your untimely death could devastate them financially if you have failed in this regard. Term insurance is very cheap and can provide options for love ones who need help meeting financial obligations without you. If you don't have it and your family relies upon your income then make a call today to get term insurance quotes.
3) Have a Will and/or Trust and keep it updated
An outdated will is worse than no will at all in my opinion - especially if there's been a lot of changes in the family. Do your family a favor and make sure there's a will - and more importantly stay on top of updating your will and/or trust as life changes occur. If you have some family or asset complexity that a will cannot adequately address - make sure you have a trust drawn up. If you don't, your wishes will come secondary to how your state legislature thinks your assets should be distributed.
4) Have a Business Succession Plan
Do you own all or part of a business which provides an income and quality of life for your family? If you are a sole proprietor you need to identify and know who are potential buyers. If you have a partner you need to put a plan in place on how to pay your family and transition ownership if one of you were to die. Communicate these plans with family members and include it with your records.
5) Love Much...
There's no guarantees for how long anyone who we love and/or depend on will live. Make the most of your relationships by spending quality time with those you love - don't wait until retirement or a raise to do meaningful activities or trips. Regularly express your appreciation and affection...