How to be prepared for the super dark stuff like death, medical emergencies, and natural disasters. This will absolutely be my least read blog post, and the bar is not very high already, folks.
Start The Conversation
Girl, I get it. Talking about death and emergency preparedness is not sexy and doesn't easily slide into conversation. That said, it's so important to discuss your plans for your future with your friends and family. Talk about the things you'd grab if there was a fire in the home. Discuss escape options. You get it. Even dropping hints about what you'd like to see for yourself toward the end of life helps your loved ones make hard choices a little easier, later down the road.
I actually think it's an important topic and I've been thinking about it for several months before our current Coronavirus pandemic. We practice the idea of "preparing for the worst" every time we backup our phones and computers to the cloud. So why can't we do the same for our own lives?
Let's ease into this by featuring a song about death from a show about death...shall we? Beetlejuice the Musical - The Whole Being Dead Thing
We are told over and over again to protect our account passwords with the strength of Zeus. How can you be sure your accounts are safe if you aren't there and no one has your passwords?
Facebook allows you to setup a legacy contact, see more about that here. Go to Settings/Memorialization Setting and then choose a Facebook friend to be your legacy contact. It will send them a message to seek their permission and open the discussion (if needed). Twitter needs to have basic information provided plus a copy of your ID and the death certificate. Even if you provide the information to Twitter it still may limit your access to the account. The terms and conditions state for iCloud says that the data for the user is nontransferable. So unless you have the password for the deceased's account, you can't actually keep any of the information stored on the iCloud. This could be sad news for some and great news for others! What are you hiding, though?
For gathering all your password information safely, you can always try and rely on password managers like keychain, 1Password, or LastPass for example. If you don't want to use a manager, consider creating a document for your spouse/family which has all your usernames and passwords. Keep it up to date and includes important information including renewal dates for subscriptions.
For our next segment, please enjoy this Saturday Night Live reference...
Make copies of your important documents and send copies to family or super trusted friends for safe keeping. This is logical thing to do to prep for natural disasters, or if something is lost/stolen, especially while traveling. It's also a good idea to include medical insurance policy numbers with these documents. Better safe than sorry. Making digital copies is an earth friendly option! Be sure to create a document of emergency phone numbers for family, friends, and emergency services/utilities. Don't panic, you can order replacement records (like birth certificates) at this link for the Center for Disease Control and search by your state. You can also use vitalrecordsonline.com
Don't Make Escape-Room-Level Hiding Places
In an ideal world, you will have all your important documents filed away in a locked file cabinet. Things like your birth certificate, marriage licenses, passport, social security card, etc. Nailed it! But...does someone know where that key is in an emergency situation? You have two choices: make it easy to find the key or tell someone you trust where to find it. Don't go all Escape Room on us and hid it through a series of puzzles and brain games.
DARK STUFF: In order to obtain a death certificate, you will need someone to have access to your original copies, proof of identity as well as proof of relationship. You need death certificates for SO MANY important things like closing out bank accounts, making funeral arrangements, and addressing more personal business on behalf of the deceased.
Be prepared! While it's easy to brush off the hype around doomsday prepping, it would be wise to at least have some items aside from your basic first aid kit on hand in case you need it.
Water bottles or water filtration systems like LifeStraw are a great place to start. In the event you have contaminated water at home, it's nice to have something available for your basic needs.
If you want to up your preparedness game, you can always have a go-bag packed with water, nutrition bars, etc. You can rely on prepackaged bags from companies like Judy! They make emergency preparedness kits from size Fanny Pack (yes, really) to an 11x15 tub weighing 18 lbs. Check them out here.
Since we're talking death...
You may not think you have anything of value, but having a trust or will can save the people you love from having to deal with large headaches and of course, probate court. No matter what your situation, I highly recommend creating a will and/or a trust for yourself. I created mine online on trustandwill.com. It took me a total of 10 minutes and saved me hundreds of dollars. I also found a promo code (JUNCAL15) on google which saved me $20! If you actually have money, you can hire an attorney and an estate organizer to do all the work for you.
Eileen Moynahan, an estate organizer, wrote a book about preparing for death. I know...doesn't sound like something you'd pick up for fun. She does a great job of keeping it light and direct - tells you what you need to know and what is more or less important to know in the few days after someone passes. Her book is called "After The Funeral" and I bought it for my sisters. I give THE BEST gifts, right?
That's all the capacity I have to discuss this for material at this moment. If you have any questions, need more detail, or want to ask specific questions...
Just kidding. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Or ask your parents, because I bet they'll have better answers than me.