Volunteering for a Healthier Life

BAC Challenge # 4 – Is Your House In Order?

This week I have been repeatedly reminded that life is not promised to any of us. The latest reminder was when a plane crashed feet away from a crowded YMCA and Grocery Store in Bellevue, TN. No one is promised tomorrow and I don’t know about you but I want to make sure my family is well provided for in my absence. This being said, this week’s challenge is to get your house in order. This means a lot of things to a lot of people. For clarification sake, I want you to include those things as well, but focus on your formal documents and discussing it with your family. Do you have a will or a living will? Does your family know your wishes in case you are in an accident? Injury and death is not something we can choose not to be a part of, we hope it is much later in life, but as we are reminded daily….your time could be right now.

So for the next week I want you to think about and write down what you want to happen with your belongings. Think about who you want to handle things and how you want it handled. Do you want to be buried or cremated? In your current city or somewhere else. If you are married I want you to discuss this with your spouse. If you have kids, I want you to talk about it with them too. Now, I know some of you are wondering if your kids are old enough to have this discussion…you have to be the judge of that, but I think if they are teenagers you should talk to them because they can handle more than you think. Many of your family members will question why now…but you can honestly reassure them that you are just preparing your family so they know your wishes no matter what. For those who are young and/or single don’t think this excludes you. You should be thinking about this too. Talk to your parent or other family member(s) to ensure they know what you want done.

I remember years ago during one of these conversations that I let my parents know I wanted my organs donated, but not my eyes. My mom actually had difficulty with this discussion and said she didn’t know if she could. I let her know that those were my wishes and that is why I was letting her know, so she could get used to it. I want to help other people even in death. They thought it was funny though that I didn’t want to donate my eyes. Now, my eyes aren’t special and no I don’t have 20/20 vision (ha far from it)…I, however, feel that the eyes are the window to a person’s soul. I didn’t want someone else to take my windows!!! Additionally, for years I would tell my parents, you can donate my organs but I’m not putting it on my license and I don’t want my eyes to go. I know I know please don’t lecture about not putting it on my license…I don’t want vultures to say I am dead when I am just resting…just to get my organs. Anywho, if I hadn’t had this conversation with my parents they would have had to make the agonizing decision as to what to do with my body parts wondering what I would want them to do. I now have given up the issue surrounding my eyes and their donation with the rest of my organs, but I have still not put it on my license.

So back to the challenge, I suggest you get someone to prepare your will for you especially if you have a lot of assets or want some detailed specifics when it comes to your children. That being said between now and when that happens you should at least handwrite your wishes on a sheet of paper as legibly as possible, get two friends (non-related friends) to watch you sign the document and date it. Have them sign and date it as well…if you have someone who is a notary it wouldn’t hurt to have them certify it too…especially if it will be a while before you get a formal will drafted. Give a copy to your executor or the person who would most likely be contacted in the event of your injury or death. Put the original in a safe or lockbox. You should also get a living will written. This establishes your wishes as far as donations and being on life support. Most hospitals and doctors offices have them and you can even get a form copy online. Make sure your family has a copy of that as well.

I know this challenge seems like it may be a tad bit morbid, but these are things that are important and ignoring it isn’t going to change anything…it will just make it more difficult for those dealing with your injury or death.

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