Putting Your Affairs In Order

When your family faces a threat like COVID-19, you realize you had better revisit that old maxim of "Put your affairs in order." I was having this conversation with work colleagues late last week when things were starting to get worse. The fancy graphs don't show the horrible reality that the data points are made up of people who will live their last days, alone and in a hospital (or at home trying to stay physically distant from others).

As I shared with my colleagues, it's important to put your affairs in order. It's even MORE important if you have dependents, older family members. The worst time to prepare for disaster is when the disaster is right ahead, but you have to try.

Here's a general list that I follow and advise others to consider. What would you add? What's missing?

Financial Affairs

1) These 4 things need to be done with a lawyer ($500 approx):

  a) Get a living will (designating an executor),
  b) Directive to Physician, and
  c) Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order
  d) Power of Attorney/Medical Power of Attorney

2) Make sure Teacher Retirement System (TRS) knows who is going to get your retirement fund...designate your recipient

3) Make sure you've got digital or paper copies in the hands of the people who will handle your estate

4) Put another person on your bank account (including Safety Deposit boxes) so that they won't have to go through the courts to get access

5) Contact your life insurance agent and let them know who your person is or how you want beneficiary selected

Funeral Arrangements

6) Contact your favorite funeral home and make arrangements. $2K for direct cremations is standard rate but it varies from town to town.

You can get your cremation urn through them or order it online from Amazon.

They have some nice models that are inexpensive. Of course, you can also go the casket route but don't plan on a quick burial in these times.


7) Get your usernames and passwords for Gmail, Facebook, etc. written down or in a password manager. Provide a copy of that password manager with the master copy (encrypted of course if possible, not encrypted if not) to your person or designee

8) Write down any equipment (laptops) passwords, make sure people know how to login to the device and where you keep your confidential data. I keep all of mine on an external drive and in Google, so I just point that out and share encryption passwords

9) Make sure that you share your phone passcode with your person.

I put all of this on a USB flash drive in a secure location along with written instruction. My children where to look if it comes to that. If all is well, in a few months (or less), I'll update the digital files on the flash drive to the latest version.

Some of this is impossible to do right now due to the stay at home policy. However, there may be ways to get it done with "virtual lawyers" and you should pursue them. Even if all goes well, you'll be better off for the future...and we all gotta die someday.

Sense of Peace

I remember when my Dad, who died of lung cancer from smoking too much in his youth, had the funeral home representatives over. I was surprised and then grateful. He was making plans for an eventuality that was coming. I can't say I'm all the way there in terms of planning, but the steps I've taken so far have given me a sense of peace. More remains to be done.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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