Nothing is certain but death and taxes. But you can evade taxes. You can’t evade death. George Carlin pointed out that a house is nothing more than a pile of stuff with a cover on it. What happens to that stuff after we’re gone?
The death of a loved one is something we all face sooner or later. There are memories and emotions involved, and there is also the more business side of things, from handling the funeral to figuring out what happens to all the stuff that is left behind. This year marks the tenth anniversary of my father’s death and ten years since I became an orphan at 40. In this episode of the podcast, I share my personal experience surrounding his death and taking care of the estate.
- Pre-planning a funeral benefits the survivors by removing uncertainty. At least discuss final wishes with loved ones.
- Give your parents’ neighbors a way to contact you in case of an emergency.
- Enlist the help of other family members to lessen the burden of contacting others in the family.
- Keep a physical list of important numbers that may not be accessible in a phone that requires a password. Print out “Contacts” from a smart phone.
- Digital photos are nice, but make sure important family photos can be accessed by other family members. Archive important family photos in real-world physical photo albums.
- Keep important papers, deeds, insurance policies, receipts together in a safe place that a loved one will be able to find.
- Avoid attaching too much meaning to “stuff.” You can let go of stuff while holding onto the memories. That said, recognize and respect legitimate family heirlooms.