By Landis Lain
Recently a young relative perished in a motorcycle accident at the age of thirty-three. He left a wife and small children. As we navigate upstream through the morass of legalities and life insurance and grief, I learned two things. Many people are unprepared for a tragic occurrence in their lives. I talked to many of his friends and acquaintances during the weeks following his death. They are all stunned and shaken. To a man, none of them had life insurance. None of them have substantial savings, though they all have wives and most have small children. Some even have stay at home wives. Many are former military, which took care of that stuff while they served the country but now that they are veterans, they must make their own way in a world that has not prepared them for the minefield that is adulthood. That was the most frightening news I have ever received.
The life struggle of young adults is so profound they do not take the time or have energy to consider what might happen to their families in the event of their untimely demises. In 2022, this is even more frightening when we have a random shooting every day, COVID raging and accidents happening. The num-ber one cause of death in American young men is unintentional injury (accidental death). The second is homicide. The third is suicide. One of life’s most profound truths is that everyone will die. None of us are making it off this rock to a higher plane without dying (unless the rapture ensues). People need to change because Adulting has ghetto aspects.
Obviously, essential details are left out of the manual ‘How to Adult in Ten Easy Steps’ manual. So here are essential items and instructions that all adults should have, especially if they have embarked on family life.
- Will to designate who personal items go to as well as who will take care of your children.
- Durable Power of Attorney.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Funeral planning declaration.
- Life insurance policies with named beneficiaries.
- Bank accounts ‘Pay on death’ to avoid probate.
- Make a list of accounts, credit cards, utility accounts, vehicle titles. Leave clear instructions n how they are to pay them.
- Make certain to provide passwords, and ID numbers in your documents
- Keep documents in a safe secure place with easy access – not just on the computer or phone.
- Give a copy of your documents to a trustworthy source so heirs can access them in case of your death.
It is brave to wake up in the morning when your heart aches and take on the tasks of the day. But it is better to be prepared for emergencies. Sometimes it storms. Often storms are unmercifully damaging. Do not wait for the storm. The time to act is now.
It is brave to adult responsibly.