Friday, December 16, 2011

The Preparedness Step Everyone Avoids

As many of you already know, we recently suffered a terrible loss just after Thanksgiving when my husband's father passed away. It's been a difficult time, filled with memories, good and bad, and time to reassess our life as a family and as preppers.

The first lesson we have learned and one that actually has been nagging at all of us I suppose since the day we were born, is that in time we will all die. We know it, we think about it, but unfortunately we almost never prepare for it. Such is the case of my father-in-law, who though he had death benefits for his funeral never had them changed after he remarried and it has been difficult for the family to obtain them to pay for his burial. He never wrote a will. He had purchased his burial plots, but never gave any of his sons power of attorney so they could assure his wishes. It is something none of them expected, even though they all knew his passing would come some day.

This lack of planning has caused numerous financial problems for those left behind. He never talked about the day he might die, whether out of fear or denial no one knows, and he never made sure everyone knew his wishes or that those who would have to have the responsibility of his burial had all the legal means to see it was taken care of.

As preppers, we work daily to assure our family has adequate emergency supplies. We store food, water, first aid and fuel, but in all the years we have been prepping I do not remember once anyone talking about being prepared for their own death. We live each day knowing our last day on earth will eventually arrive and in knowing that we owe it to the loved ones we will leave behind to be prepared for that final day. We need to embrace it's inevitability and we need to take action while we're alive to see that that our death and burial is handled with dignity and does not become a financial burden to those we leave behind.

I urge everyone today to make a list. Write it all down and let your family know where you will keep the list so they know where to find the information about the decisions you will make about your own funeral. (Even if you have already made your plans your family needs to know where the information is kept.) Begin recording your planning by first deciding on where you want to buried. Do you want to be cremated or placed in a casket? Write it down. What do you want to be said at your funeral and who you want to oversee your final wishes? Write it down. Then once your decisions are made, look online for examples of wills and make one yourself if you cannot afford an attorney. Most insurance agents are or have a notary republic in their offices that you can use as legal witnesses to any documents you need to prepare. Then remember if things change in your life, you have a falling out or you get a divorce or someone dies, update your documents to reflect who will be in charge in that person's stead.

Then take action, have insurance that will cover your burial, or if you have land of your own that you want to be buried on, make sure that the laws within your county or state will allow you to be buried there. If you already have insurance or don't want to buy any then at least start saving now and as soon as possible purchase the plot where you will be buried and contact a mortuary to begin the funeral planning and making payments now to pay for your own funeral. Both are enormous expenses that need planning immediately, not after you die, so that you can pay over time if necessary. Once you are dead the mortuary and cemetery will demand their money upfront, they won't make payment plans then, and rest assured the sooner you do it the lower the price will be as costs go up every year.

Remember, the day you die will be an emotional time for your family. The last thing you want is for them to suffer not only the loss from your passing, but legal and financial hardships because of your death. Prepare now, it will be one of the greatest gifts you can give to your family in their time of sorrow.

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