Making life easier (for family) if something happens to me?
January 4, 2021 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I am trying come up with a concise list of things I could do right now to make things easier for my family if something were to happen to me. I have 3 siblings (48, 50 and 52) and 2 living parents (79 and 86). If I get hit by a bus today and live (but can no longer make decisions) or die what information should I have thought about, put together and disseminated to them to make things as non-stressful as possible for them? I'm thinking of Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, Living Will, Final Will, etc.

In the spirit of Getting My Shit Together™ I am trying come up with a concise list of things I could do right now to make things easier for my family if something were to happen to me. This mainly stems from the fact that my Mom and Dad, 79 and 86 respectively, have done nothing to inform me of their pre-end of life and end of life wishes.

I am trying come up with a concise list of things I could do right now to make things easier for my family if something were to happen to me. I have 3 siblings (48, 50 and 52) and 2 living parents (79 and 86). If I get hit by a bus today and live (but can no longer make decisions) or die what information should I have thought about, put together and disseminated to them to make things as non-stressful as possible for them? I'm thinking of Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, Living Will, Final Will, etc.

I live a very simple life. I have a job, an apartment, a 17 year old car and a bunch of computers. I have no real assets. This seems to be breaking down very simply for me. I want them to know my wishes and provide some funds to help with those wishes. I need to plan for wishes and funds before end of life (if I'm disabled and/or cannot make decisions) and plan for wishes and funds after end of life. Wishes and funds before end of life would be Living Will and Disability Insurance. Wishes and funds after end of life would be Final Will and Life Insurance. So I have two questions?

1) Since my life is simple are my needs that simple? Living Will and Disability Insurance? Final Will and Life Insurance? Is there something I am missing here?

2a) Assuming question 1 is that simple? Do you have a recommendation on where to make a Living Will and Final Will? Online resources are fine.

2b) How about Disability Insurance and Life Insurance? Can I have both of these through one Insurance company? If so, can you recommend a reputable company? I believe I get some of this through work but I'm also looking for Insurance I can have set up myself in case I lose my job.

Thanks In Advance!
posted by dgeiser13 to Human Relations (10 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: You definitely should get your Advanced Directives in order. This would include your Living Will (wishes for medical treatment) and identifying your healthcare agent, who will be your proxy if you can't make decisions yourself. The required forms vary by location but you can find all 50 US states here.
posted by assenav at 1:04 PM on January 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I’ve not used it, but I’ve seen https://getyourshittogether.org/ recommended (probably here) as a resource for questions like “what am I missing?”
posted by okayokayigive at 1:16 PM on January 4, 2021 [3 favorites]


Best answer: If you have any bank accounts, checking accounts, investment accounts you can add POD (pay on death) clauses so your heirs can access your funds without going through probate. They just need to present your death certificate and will get a check. This can help pay your funeral expenses or pay your bills or pay your rent while they clean out your apt.
You can change these at any time.
You may (depending on your state) be able to do this with your vehicle titles.
posted by H21 at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2021


Best answer: Why do you think you need life insurance? Usually this is used to provide for dependents in the event of your passing? Are you think of a small policy to cover funeral expenses?
posted by tman99 at 1:49 PM on January 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Put together a list of your passwords.
Declutter your home.
If applicable, put any personal loose ends or misdeeds in order, or at least delete evidence of them- a friend discovered a family member's infidelities after their death and it was hurtful.
Let your power of attorney family members know your medical wishes: Atul Gawande's book, Being Mortal is a great read with a lot of insight on this.
Write letters to loved ones telling them what you love about them.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:49 PM on January 4, 2021 [5 favorites]


Best answer: You might look into designating a Health Care Proxy -- this is someone legally designated to make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so. It may be helpful along with a Living Will. The process may vary by state -- here's an explanation from a state that may not be yours.

I second the recommendation to designate a beneficiary and/or make your accounts POD. Beneficiary designations are usually what you do with an investment account; POD works for bank accounts.

Keep in mind that the legal requirements vary by state. You will need to find a source of advice about your specific state to determine what counts as a legal will, whether you need a Living Will or a Health Care Proxy or both, and many other questions.

About where to get help with this:
- sometimes law schools will run free estate planning clinics -- you might check to see if there's one in your area.
- if your workplace has an EAP (employee assistance program), try reaching out to them. They will often provide you free resources and a free appointment or two with a lawyer.
- I've found the NOLO books and resources helpful in this kind of situation. Here's their introduction to estate planning, with checklists, and they have books and template kits available, too. Make sure to get the resources for your specific state.
posted by ourobouros at 1:52 PM on January 4, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Start by understanding your employment-related policies and limits. Location matters; California, for example, offers an Advance Health Care Directive Registry (AHCD) and the forms are accessible through the government site. Other registries. My healthcare provider uses MyChart for patient records and it has an Advance Care Planning page with guides, local forms, and helpful links. If you're in the US, look up your state at Prepare for Your Care for advanced directive forms. (AARP has some resources, too, wefted with spon-con, and site navigation is a bear.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:53 PM on January 4, 2021


Best answer: Have a will. Even if you don’t have a lot of stuff, have a will. It can greatly simplify things for anyone handling affairs. Make sure you name an executor and that they are willing. And make sure they know where to get the ORIGINAL copy. I keep begging the in-laws to write a will. I told them I don’t care if they leave everything to their dogs, just save us the mess when they’re gone. I’ve seen messy situations that could have been prevented with a will. Estate attorneys would have stories for days on this stuff.
posted by azpenguin at 9:21 PM on January 4, 2021


Best answer: If you have a little money to throw at solving this, I recommend a consult with a financial planner and an estate attorney. Between the two, they’ll guide you to setting up the right plans and documents for your particular situation and geography, and it should be relatively inexpensive considering how relatively simple your situation is.

For example, I was surprised to learn that a living will is useless in my state - I needed to complete a form in my electronic health record instead, and designate a healthcare proxy. My financial planner recommended that I not worry about supplemental life insurance, but was very insistent that I invest in supplemental long-term disability insurance should I no longer be able to work, to ensure I could continue saving for retirement if I become disabled (as traditional work-sponsored LTDI ends at age 65).
posted by amelioration at 5:54 AM on January 5, 2021


Best answer: FWIW, most major online services have a section on how to specify who gets your online stuff in case you pass.

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-give-friends-emergency-access-to-your-online-acc-1831340372
posted by kschang at 12:18 PM on January 5, 2021


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