Sunday, January 13, 2013

On Rootlessness and Death

Cemetery, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A recent article in the New York Times reminded me I need to take care of some business.

Getting your shit together 

The article is A Shocking Death, A Financial Lesson, and Help for Others, which introduced readers to the article subject's website: Get Your Shit Together. As in, start getting your affairs in order now so you or your loved ones don't have a mess to deal with later.  The information that the author, Chanel Reynolds, shares is very basic, but it is a good starting point.    

Cemetery, Istanbul

That includes your online life ... and death

Back here, I mentioned some vendors that keep all of your passwords (and access to online "assets" in general) in one place and pairs that with instructions from you to share the passwords with designated beneficiaries upon your death or incapacitation.  That is a service I want, but have I followed up on this? No, I have not.

Cemetery, Mtatsminda, Tbilisi, Georgia

The Digital Beyond is "... a blog about your digital existence and what happens to it after your death. We’re the go-to source for archival, cultural, legal and technical insights to help you predict and plan for the future of your online content." This site lists and compares "digital death and afterlife online services" here.

What I do have in place ... 

Advance directive - appropriately signed and notarized, with originals distributed to appropriate people. (The link goes to a place where you can download your state's advance directive forms.) Done.

All of my financial accounts have designated beneficiaries. When I say designated, that doesn't mean I wrote a list of my accounts and entered a name beside each entry on a piece of paper and that was the end of it. No, it means the financial institutions have this information and will automatically transfer ownership of said funds to the designated beneficiary upon proof of my death. You don't need a will to make this happen and, in fact, if you do have a will, the designated beneficiaries on your financial accounts will supersede any conflicting direction you may have in your will. (You know that nightmare situation where a guy made his 2nd wife the beneficiary of everything in his will, but he didn't take his 1st wife's name off of the financial accounts as beneficiary? You got it - the 1st wife wins the jackpot.) Done.

Cemetery, Missouri

 What I don't have ... because I don't need it

Life insurance. I have no mate, minor children, business partnerships, or debt. I have enough money to pay the expenses related to the disposition of my remains.  I don't feel the need to create a legacy via life insurance. So I don't need life insurance.

Cemetery, Armenia

The will

Alllaw has a nice list of DIY resources on wills. For my simple situation, I felt comfortable copying and adapting the Basic Will Form at the bottom of the Alllaw's page. Here's another guide to get someone started on doing up a will - with or without help.

I don't have this in the Done section yet because I'm just now completing it.

I'm not entirely convinced one is necessary for me, but it's easy to make a will (for someone, like me, with an uncomplicated asset-and-beneficiary life), plus having one will remove even the slightest hesitation about who's in charge of taking care of my stuff when I'm gone. I mean, I don't have much stuff (like that printer I just bought), but I do have some. And somebody's going to have to deal with it.

Cemetery, Lalibela, Ethiopia

1 comment:

Mary said...

I love all your cemetery shots from around the world!