Preparing For Death Regardless of Age

How to Prepare for Death ESPECIALLY at a Young Age

I am not an attorney and am not giving legal advice. With any questions, please contact an attorney.

It was a hectic afternoon, eight years ago, herding children to play in centers while others were finishing up their homework. Parents were in and out picking up their children. A typical busy day in the life of an afterschool care director. My sister and I were working together at the time. It was not abnormal for my husband to come to the school but the day was different. It was early. He should not have been off work yet. I knew something was wrong, but to be honest, I thought maybe he had lost his job or something with the timing and the look on his face. There are still days that I wish that would’ve been the case. Instead, in the middle of the chaos, he got my sister and I together and shared with us something extremely unexpected and painful.

preparing for death

I have two aunts on my dad side of the family and an uncle on my mom side of the family that were more like siblings or cousins to us versus our aunts and uncle. There was not a lot of age difference between us. My mom had called my husband, Josh, at work and asked him to come tell my sister and I in person that my uncle, her baby brother, had passed away. We were in absolute shock. He was full of life and healthy and then the next minute he was gone. It just didn’t seem like it could have even been possible.

I remember as my husband was telling me, thinking, “This can’t be true.” I remember the sounds of the kids fading in the background even though nothing had changed in the room. I remember the looks on parents faces as they would come in and get their children and leave without saying anything. They knew something was wrong. My husband, also heartbroken, picked up the slack as he always does and started helping out with the kids while my sister and I stood in shock. This was an uncle who taught us to dance, drug us around the lake on an inner tube behind the boat, and even brought my little cousin into the world the same year that my sister and I added my oldest and her second oldest to our families.

preparing for death

My uncle who passed away is pictured standing in the top right with the white shirt on. I am between him and my youngest brother.

How could this be? How was it HIM and not someone older? Someone who had been sick. Someone who had lived a good bit of their life. Someone whose family would have had time to prepare for their death. Someone who had already said their goodbyes. We didn’t have that chance.

How would family reunions be the same without him? Why should my little cousin have to live life with just foggy memories of her father? It just didn’t seem right… didn’t seem FAIR!

Truth is…. Death never feels right and it is never fair. No one can ever completely prepare for death. Goodbyes are never easy regardless of how much you prepare. 

My uncle was single so one of my mom’s sisters took care of arranging the funeral, arranging his finances, and taking care of all of his belongings. There is so much involved when it comes to taking care of a loved one’s assets and liabilities once they have passed. Here are some tips that can help alleviate the strain on your loved one if you were to pass away before expected!

preparing for death

Update Your Will

A will gives everyone a clear description of who will inherit your belongings and who will be entrusted to take care of any minor children. You can create your own will for free HERE and then take it to a notary to make it becomes a legal document. Store in a file that is easy to find. I also recommend making a copy for whoever you choose as a legal guardian for your child(ren) to have on hand in case of an emergency.

Have a Living Will (Also known as a Health Care Directive)

A living will is a document that gives you the power to make a decision in advance for your medical needs in the case that you are unable to act for yourself. Decisions such as who will make the decisions while you are unable to make them for yourself (your medical power of attorney) and decisions on life support, feeding tubes, and comfort care broke down by:

  • If you need terminal care with no hope of recovery
  • If you are in a permanent coma with no hope for recovery
  • If you are in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery

You can create your own living will for free HERE. 

Power of Attorney

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is only valid while you are capable of acting for yourself and will end automatically when you become mentally incapacitated or if you die. This gives one person of your choice to act on your behalf. You can find an easy form here to create your own power of attorney.

Have a Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney remains in force even after you later become mentally incapacitated and ends automatically when you die. You can find an easy form here to create your own durable power of attorney.

Keep a List of ANY Investments, Bank Accounts, IRA’s, 401K accounts, etc. 

Having a list of account numbers and contact information can help make the process easier for your loved one. 

Update Beneficiary 

Make sure that beneficiary information is current on all life insurance and investments, even investments from former employers. In some cases, beneficiaries can be randomly “dropped off” your account. If this happens, and you pass away, the company gets to keep the money since there is no beneficiary. The beneficiary information should be checked annually. It can be verified online in most cases.

No one wants to think they might die young but at the same time, expecting to live forever and leaving a mess for your loved ones adds even more stress to the situation. Prepare yourself FOR your loved one’s sake!

I am not an attorney and am not giving legal advice. With any questions, please contact an attorney.

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1 thought on “Preparing For Death Regardless of Age

  1. This is something that ever one young and old needs to do and update as needed.

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