not so much a community service announcement as me waking up from a very bad dream and feeling just a touch fragile

25 Nov

Look, this is none of my business, but something I have learned from the last few years is that you absolutely must have all of your worst case scenario documents in place. Wills, powers of attorney, guardianship orders. You need them – or, more precisely, the people around you need them. Getting them together sucks. No doubt about it. It’s expensive, emotionally draining and forces you to think about things, both real and imagined, that you’d rather not think about. But you need to do it. Also, if there’s anyone in your life for whom you are going to need to take on such responsibilities, talk to them about it and ask them whether it’s all done. This might be hard, it might be very bloody hard, but however hard it is now, it will be a whole lot harder later on when you wish you’d done it now.

I’ve been lucky that in everything we’ve been through over the last little while we’ve had the bits of paper to wave about, and even with them, it’s really frigging hard.

You might think that you don’t need professional help with this, and indeed, I think you can do a lot of things with those do-it-yourself packages from the newsagent, but if you find a professional you can trust they will ask you questions you might not have thought of and it will be money well spent. However you got about it, get it done.

Oh, and when you’ve finished the documents, give copies of them to everyone who needs them, tell them where the originals are and then, write notes to yourself reminding yourself where you have stored the originals and put said notes in every place that you might go looking for said originals at the time that you might need them.

Right, I’ll stop being bossy and righteous and now.
(but your vaccinations are up to date, aren’t they?)

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7 Responses to “not so much a community service announcement as me waking up from a very bad dream and feeling just a touch fragile”

  1. Cristy November 25, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I drafted all those docs for my grandparents years ago, witnessed copies and distributed them, etc… But have yet to do so for myself. Stupid I know.

  2. Pen November 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    We did ours, but now you remind me I am not entirely sure where the originals are. Ahem. But I do know where my solicitor and her copies are, so that’s something.

  3. elsewhere November 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    you’re starting to sound like my mother!

  4. Craftastrophies November 26, 2010 at 3:24 am #

    I don’t have anything like that because I have nothing to leave anyone. Except debt. I didn’t get death insurance on my mortgage because if anything happens to me in the next 5 years (how long it lasts) the house will need to be sold anyway. But it’s on my to do list for the next few years, for sure.

    I would also add, if you feel strongly about how you are treated after you are dead – cremated, buried, what songs, where to have it or not – or even if you don’t, making a note about it wouldn’t be a bad idea. It makes it SO MUCH more stressful and emotionally wrenching for your family to have to try to work those things out, especially if something happens to you suddenly. Grim, I know. But really, we could have saved a whole lot of emotional trauma and arguments if my dad had ever made any plans, ever. Even just ‘I do/do not want to be cremated’.

    Feeling a touch fragile myself these days. Waking up from bad dreams in which I am CLEARLY projecting my daddy/abandonment issues onto anyone my subconsious can find (sometimes they include zombies). Frued would be proud. Oh well, tis the season and all that.

  5. Mindy November 26, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Found out the hard way that my whooping cough vax was not up to date. We’ve done wills. I think our solicitor was taken over by someone else though so who knows where they actually are. should think about that…

  6. Kath Lockett November 27, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    We’re in the process of doing all that now too. I’m getting heartily sick of letters with those fluoro ‘sign here’ tabs but keep telling myself that it’s the sensible thing to do, it will be worth it, peace of mind, etc etc. Hurts my brain though.

  7. Sandy Loffler November 30, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Tracy and the rest of you who have supported making a will are absolutely right.
    My (30 year old) daughter died tragically and suddenly in December last year. She had a bank account and a mortgage. She had a will – just the simple one downloaded off the web. All her papers were beautifully organised.
    ELEVEN months later I am near the end of finalising her affairs, thanks to unbelievable bank incompetence plus the time it takes for probate, super fund closure, change of property title etc etc.
    If she hadn’t had a will it would have been much longer and much more expensive.
    A nightmare like this HAS to be made as straightforward as possible for those left behind.
    Please, please do it now. Start by downloading and filling out a simple one off the web. Then plan an appointment with a lawyer to discuss any issues arising.

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