Friday, January 28, 2011

Comes With Love. A Fairly Easy Lesson.

If you do love someone, with every fiber of your being - whether it be a child or partner - there are things you owe yourself, and them, to do. Alan and I were somewhat prepared, yet many of the crucial issues we addressed in the 11th hour. I am grateful we did, but it was an uncomfortable, sobering scramble and not something you want to deal with when you're savoring a life.

This what I'm talking about:
Reconciling bank accounts.
Locating the life insurance policy / finding out if there's one through work - you never know.
Clarifying instructions regarding a DNR/DNI end of life care.
Consulting a lawyer if there will be remaining sperm/eggs/embryos if you did assisted reproduction.
Organ donation.
What you'd like for yourself re. burial/cremation.

Much to contemplate, all of it of dire importance.
Bottom line? Do it. You can handle it.

If you have a spouse, especially if you have a child, if you are employed - or not, get life insurance NOW. Do it. It is painless, you call an insurance broker, they do a brief review of your medical history, send someone to your home to do bloodwork and then they issue you a policy. It is easily implemented and takes less time than the usual procrastination.

Do your DNR/DNI form NOW. You can find basic ones on line, but they are state specific so make sure you find one for where you live (here). Spell out how you want your end of life care whether you're in an accident or struck ill or live until you're 102 like Lily's great grandfather. You owe it to your loved ones who will also be your caregivers to tell them whether or not you want to be on breathing tubes, kept alive if brain-dead, given enough pain-killer to be pain free, put in a hospice facility, taken care of - if possible - at home. Yes, these are heavy, terrifying issues to contemplate but trust me, you will be grateful there is no second guessing/hoping praying you're honoring someones wishes when you cannot communicate with them.

Wills also can be found on line and will need to be notarized. If there will be multiple beneficiaries or if it is going to be complicated, get a lawyer.

List - somewhere safe - all of your bank account numbers, passwords, policy numbers etc... in an place that a loved one knows about. If you find yourself in an untimely, dire situation, try as best you can to transfer or empty all cash bank accounts into the soon to be survivor's name. Name your beneficiaries on ALL of your accounts. Now. Here's the deal. When someone passes on, their accounts technically should be inaccessible and will become what's known as part of "the estate". It may be frozen if there is debt to pay, bills to negotiate, etc... If your loved one's finances are already in your name it allows you to protect some assets or at least have them readily available for immediate needs. Estates can be frozen for MONTHS. There will be bills to pay, funeral expenses, post-mortem taxes to prepare for your loved one, and you may not be psychologically/spiritually able to return to work. I wasn't.
And I was pregnant.
You may need all the financial help you can get.

Do it by February 14th. Is it a Hallmark card? No.
A deep way to show your love? Yes. (And you can do both. Woo hoo!)

When I look at Lily she is the embodiment of all of Alan's love and mine, combined. And everyday I consider her Alan's valentine to me.
She is well worth all of the planning above.

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