Tuesday, April 07, 2009


A few weeks ago I wrote here about a hard life lesson. Someone I know, a young man with a wife and baby, had a cardiac arrest, was revived but is still in a coma. We don't know what the outcome will be.

It has made us think about our lives and reassess where we are and where we would like to be because if this can happen to a healthy, young man, it can happen to any of us.

We have done this in very different ways. Virgo has decided that now is the time to travel and she and her partner have booked and are off in a couple of months while Pisces and I have seriously started work on changes in our lifestyle. We all feel as if those things we have taken for granted are now on very unsteady foundations and that we need to be better prepared for whatever life may throw at us. It has meant among other things that we all are looking at what we should do to make things easier for family and friends in the event of injury or death.

So we have been looking at what everyone should have in place - and it's a scary but not difficult to achieve list.

Everyone needs to make a will and keep their will up to date.

Everyone needs to have in place an enduring power of attorney.

Everyone needs to make sure that someone they trust knows or can access important information like who needs to be notified in case of death, where assets are kept, are there life insurance policies and with which companies, are there outstanding loans or mortgages and with whom.

Everyone needs income protection insurance.

Everyone needs have some life insurance to protect their family.

Everyone needs either a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance to ensure that funeral expenses are covered.

Everyone should keep a regularly updated written record of their medical history including their doctor's contact details and what medications they are taking and make sure that someone knows where it is. If you are unconscious you are not in a position to give that information and even close family might not know or forget the details under stress.

It's so easy to think you're too young to think about this or that it won't happen to you, that it's too expensive or it can wait but the truth is age has nothing to do with it and you really can't afford not to be prepared. It's too late to do anything about it once you are in a tragic situation.

None of these things are difficult to arrange but we keep putting them off. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Wouldn't you?


Satima Flavell said...

I am sorry for your young relative. I hope she has the support of family in every way at such a trying time. She must feel as if her whole life has been shattered into little pieces, with the biggest piece missing.

But yes, for a householder, those practical things are just plain common-sense. When I was married with a family, I made sure they were all in place except for the enduring power of attorney, which never occurred to me but of course it's a very good idea.

Now I'm on the pension I can't afford any kind of insurance, but I figure my most precious things are those of sentimental value that cannot be replaced. I would be especially distressed to lose the lovely old oak furniture that belonged to my parents should there be a fire, but insurance would not bring the pieces back and the value of them is less than a few years' insurance premiums, which I can't afford in any case.

As for funeral funds: I am wary of signing up for one in case the firm goes broke and despite any laws that should protect people under such circumstances, it worries me that I could end up worse off. I am relying on the sale of my few valuable items to cover a cheap funeral:-)

Imagine me said...

We are a very close knit family which helps a bit but nothing can take away her pain, sadly.

I had some concerns about pre-paid funerals too but our family has found them to work well so far. As long as you stick with well established companies I think they are safe enough. There is also the option of funeral insurance I suppose but, not having looked into it at all, I wonder if that might not be more expensive in the long run especially for a young person.

I do understand your position about insurance, though. It is a financial drain but I was thinking more about younger people here.