If you haven’t created a last will and testament yet, is it because you’re afraid it would be like a foreshadowing of your death? In China, writing a will is believed to be the same as putting a curse on yourself. Here in the U.S., it seems there has to be some sort of secret superstition attached to making plans for death. Otherwise, why is this important step so frequently neglected?
Results of a recent study show that only 4 in 10 adults in America have prepared an estate plan. The same study showed the top two reasons people give are: They haven’t gotten around to it or they don’t have any valuable assets. It’s important for the benefit of family members left behind, however, to prepare a family emergency plan with guidelines for what to do in the event you are suddenly incapacitated or pass away.
Not Facing Death Creates Problems
Failing to prepare for death usually becomes a personal nightmare for family members, and sometimes it has far-reaching effects.
In China, even talking about death is taboo. Due to the culture, only 1% of 220 million senior citizens in China have prepared an estate plan. Even the educated and wealthy rarely write a will, trust, living will, or other legal documents, such as power of attorney.
The disputes between family members over who inherits property have been causing serious problems throughout society. These things happening on the other side of the world reflect what happens anytime someone dies with no estate plan or emergency planning of any kind.
“Organizing Important Information” is a Sensible Approach
There is surely no bad omen in simply recording and centralizing everyday details that would help you keep track of your own affairs and serve as a useful tool, should someone have to step in to handle things. These are basic matters that can save your family members from deeper despair as they try to take care of your kids, finances, pets, home, funeral, and other matters.
No one can predict when an emergency resulting in injury, illness, or death will occur. Any preparation you make would be helpful, if a serious emergency happens to you. For instance, you could record and organize the following important information:
- User names and passwords for online accounts
- Name of your banks / your bank account information
- Your doctors’ names and contact information plus other important contacts
- The location of your life insurance policy, health insurance information, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, and will, if you have one
Prepare to Live Through a Crisis
If you are truly uncomfortable dealing head-on with your death, some experts say it’s actually even more important to have a living will or healthcare directive than a last will and testament. In case something happens to you and you can’t handle your affairs yourself, a person with this type of power of attorney takes responsibility for decisions related to your health. Depending on what you specify in the legal document, that person could also handle your financial matters, as well.
An Easy Way to Organize for “Just in Case”
Perhaps the easiest way to securely record and organize all of the important information needed in a crisis is to have a Family Emergency Card. This commonsense tool was created by a Certified Estate and Trust Specialist who saw family after family in complete turmoil because they were left with no information about what to do when a loved one died or became incapacitated. Pre-installed planning forms walk you through all of the details your family members may need. Simply plug the Family Emergency Card USB connection into your computer. There are even places for personal notes and your wishes regarding who gets your possessions.
If you’re one of the people who hasn’t prepared for the inevitable because you didn’t know how to get started, the Family Emergency Card is perfect. It’s not just the ideal resource for you, though. It may be the perfect gift to give a family member who has superstitions about death and needs encouragement to prepare for an emergency. Remember there are only two things guaranteed in life, and death is one of them. May as well get used to the idea, and the Family Emergency Card is a big help.
For for more information on the Family Emergency Card click here
Contributing writer: Stephanie McHugh
About the Editor: Bryan Beeler is a Certified Estate and Trust Specialist