October 28, 2011

Isn't it what everyone does?

In the wake of my father's death, my family is scurrying to put their affairs in order. Big Bro will have the last laugh since everyone is asking him to be executor, but as the oldest he fully expects to leave us all behind. I've created a huge spreadsheet of all my assets, debts, accounts and passwords - basically everything anyone might need to know about my finances. I'm leaving it in Dropbox, which is a free online storage site that looks and acts like a folder on your computer. (If you click the link and sign up, both you and I get additional storage space...) My executors both have Dropbox accounts, so that's where I'm putting all my important paperwork. Rewriting the will will take a bit more gumption, but it's on the list.
Do you have your affairs in order? A power of attorney for your healthcare? This is the one who says yes to the scans and scopes when you can't answer yourself. It is also the one who says pull the plug, so choose carefully! Do you have a living will, or a do not resuscitate order? Do you want them to attempt heroic measures? These things should all be determined and your healthcare power of attorney informed before the decisions become necessary, not after. No one wants to be another Terry Shiavo!

Do you have a designated power of attorney for your legal affairs, should that become necessary? Most of my bills are paid automatically through online banking, but a few are not. If I were sedated for an extended period of time, as my aunt currently is and has been for the past month, someone would have to handle my finances. Things like my car lease may need attention.

Someone needs to handle the little things, like making sure my car is driven occasionally so the bits and pieces don't rot out. Someone would have to take care of my house and my cats. I expect either Superman or Ninja would step up, but I can't be sure either of them will be emotionally stable enough to handle additional responsibilities. I prefer to ask someone with less of an emotional investment, so those closest to me are not unduly burdened.

If you don't yet have your will drawn up, try spending a half hour or so walking through this site. You never know. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Will your family and friends have to come up with the $8.5K for your funeral expenses? You know you can prepay those, or arrange for life insurance to cover. Will your family know where you want to be buried, or that you want to be planted with an evergreen tree?

On a happier note, I finished the sewing room today.
Not the best picture, but I wanted to show the doors. The sewing room is the kingpin, which will allow us to now restore about half the house to a livable state. Everything from the sewing room is currently in the back bedroom and hallway. Once that all is back where it belongs, we will be able to move furniture up from the living room and basement. Big Bro will run phone line into the front bedroom so we can bring the computers upstairs out of the basement, giving my Mom a computer room with windows and a distinct lack of dampness.

Hopefully that will all happen tomorrow evening, when we gather to help write thank you notes from the funeral. My Dad's ashes have a place of honor in the center of the dining room table. I talk to him every time I'm there. I'm not religious, and it's a stretch to fit with the beliefs I've held up until now, but I like the idea that he's in a different place. Still him, just somewhere else. Don't forget us, Dad. We certainly won't forget you.

Next week I start working on the master bedroom. I expect that to take a few weeks, considering the extent of work and size of the room (rooms, as there is a small dressing room and 2 closets attached). Next week I also start my final class. I did the math and I have to have a job by the end of February. Wish me luck!

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