We made it past the family holidays. We’ve stuffed ourselves with delicious traditional foods, repeatedly. We’ve visited with old friends and distant relatives. We’ve reminisced, we’ve caught up on current events, and we’ve shared hopes and dreams for the future. Now, we’re heading in to a new year, and resolutions for self-improvement.
Before we get there, we should pause and think about our loved ones. I don’t want to get metaphysical and talk about A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life, but think for just a moment about what happens to our loved ones when something bad and unplanned for happens to us.
If you find yourself injured and in the hospital who’s going to pay the bills? Do they know what’s due when? Do they know how to access any online accounts? Can they access the money? What happens if you’re unconscious and medical decisions need to be made for you? Who will make them? Are you sure they legally can? Are you confident that they will make the decisions that you would want them to make?
What happens when you’re released from the hospital? What if you aren’t able to work for some period of time? What if you need daily care or skilled nursing? Is your home prepared for this? How will you pay for it all?
And what happens if the worst should happen? What kind of funeral will you have? How will it be paid for? Who gets your stuff? Who looks after your kids?
We’re Professional Organizers, not doctors, lawyers or insurance agents, so this is not intended to be a free consultation. This is intended to make one of your New Year’s resolutions to be to consult with the professionals who can guide you through your money, your desires for the future, and can make it all legally binding. You don’t need to get it all done right away, it’s a process, but the sooner it’s started the better. And it all starts with some soul searching and some difficult conversations with your loved ones.
But those aren’t the difficult conversations I meant in the headline. Think about those loved ones you just visited. Are your parents prepared to answer these questions? If you don’t know that they are, then you really ought to bring up the topic. That’s the New Year’s resolution that we want you to make. You’re not responsible for what your parents decide or if they decide, but you need to start these difficult conversations.