There is a saying “Life is short” and while you should enjoy it while you can, there are some things that you should have in order just in case life is a little shorter than you may think. Chanel Reynolds, unfortunately, learned the hard way that being unprepared when you lose your spouse can turn your life upside down.
Reynolds’ husband died suddenly and she knew nothing about his side of their financial life — he’d never even told her his passwords. Below is a checklist that will help you plan for the death of a loved one:
1. Make a list of small details such as passwords, Social Security numbers, contacts, lists of credit cards, and even social media accounts and their passwords.
2. Get your paperwork together. The basic package should contain a living will, durable power of attorney, and a guardianship agreement for children and/or pets. These can be obtained through Quicken or Nolo for about $60 and they follow your specific state regulations, or you can hire a lawyer for much more.
3. Talk to loved ones about your death such as advanced directives (DNR and life support), organ donation, and how you and they should be cared for after death.
4. Buy life insurance. This is one of the most important steps as you don’t want to leave your family in the lurch with hard financial burdens. Your spouse will need help once your income is no longer coming in.
5. Leave memories of yourself. Most people take photos of their kids and pets, but not themselves. Make sure that there are photos and mementos of you for when you are gone.
6. Finish up any loose ends. Ask for forgiveness for something that may have been bothering you. Tell someone something that you have been wanting to say but have been afraid to and make sure that you tell your loved ones every day that you love them.