One of the most famous women in the world recently died. Queen Elizabeth II was on the throne for 70 years and amazingly that means that approximately eighty percent of the world haven’t known any other ruler. Of course, there are royals and leaders in other countries but the fact that the Queen was head of the Commonwealth of 56 member states and travelled globally meant that she was known by everyone.
Initially, the plan apparently was to grieve for ten days before the burial but her son and heir, now known as King Charles III, extended this to seventeen days.
The Queen was 96-year-old when she died and therefore had had a significantly long time to plan. She also had unlimited finances and people to help her create elaborate plans.
Most of us don’t know when or how we will die, and denial of the inevitable will not help those who remain. There are some things, however, that each of us can do to make our transition from life into legacy a smooth one:
- Prepare a will – Don’t assume that things will occur the way you want if you haven’t written a legal will. The two key words are “legal” and “will”. Just writing things down on a paper without knowing the laws or having a witness might mean years of Court battles after your death.
There are four parts to your final will that you need to include in writing: a) the power of attorney portion is for others who will handle your affairs if you are alive but unable to do this yourself; b) a Personal Directive that states who will make decisions about your health when you are alive but mentally incapacitated; c) another section details your wishes about who and how decisions will be made regarding your comfort and resuscitation; d) finally, the part we usually think is the only purpose of a will is for division of assets, debts and other financial matters after your death.
Choosing an Executor is important as there is a lot of work involved.
Many libraries and organizations offer educational courses to help you understand the nuances of preparing a will and, of course, the internet is a valuable resource.
- Personal Gifts – The legal will is usually written in broad and general terms. It doesn’t list every piece of jewelry, workshop tool or heirloom. Prepare a detailed list stating who you would like to have specific items and attach a copy of this to the legal will. Also find a way to label each item with the name of the person. Better yet, start giving those things away now. Doing so allows you to see the joy in the face the receiver!
- Plan your funeral – Now I know that many people state they don’t want a funeral. Some think they are expensive and very depressing but over the years I have been so blessed to be able to connect with others who I would otherwise not have seen and share stories from the past. Funerals can be very positive.
- Downsize – Do you really want those who are left to have to go through all your “stuff”? Try putting a cardboard box in the back of your vehicle and every time you leave the house, take one thing for the box. You can then recycle, garbage or donate the things that you don’t need or want in a slow but steady manner before someone else has to do this for you.
- Clear your conscience – You definitely can’t do anything about someone who holds resentment and refuses to forgive you, but you can deal with your side of the issue. Do what you need to do in order to confess based on your beliefs and forgive yourself for anything that needs forgiveness.
We don’t all have 96 years and unlimited finances to plan for our demise. We do, however, have time right now to research and plan things to fulfill our wishes and make it easier for those who remain.
Don’t wait! You never know what might happen tomorrow.