Way too often I hear families tell me that there were things they wished their deceased family members had told them before they die. Here are six things you need to think about and talk with your loved ones before your day comes.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Here’s a sad fact, you’re going to die. I know it’s probably not today and hopefully not for a very long time. For me, it seemed like it could have been pretty close. As it turns out my cancer experience is now eight years in the past I’m still kicking.
When I thought I might have a limited amount of time left I wrote a letter to my wife. The letter was just about practical stuff. In retrospect, it was a pretty crummy letter. I should have about several things besides the practical stuff.
Hi, I’m Josh Patrick, a founder at Stage 2 Planning Partners. Let’s dive into the things I think you need to be talking about with your family.
Yes, you have to have the practical stuff.
You do need to have the practical stuff. Your significant other needs to know who to call when you’re no longer here. Is it your attorney, your CPA, your best friend or your sibling? Whoever can help your spouse get through this period needs to know who they should call. Whomever it is needs to have been given a copy of the letter.
You will need to write where your passwords are, bank accounts, credit cards, savings accounts and investments. If you own a business you’re going to need to provide your spouse with guidance about what’s important to do. If there’s life insurance make sure your spouse and their supporter knows what they need to do to get the death benefit paid.
Write about how you feel about your significant other.
To me this is the really important thing. I’ve been told that it takes a widow seven to eight years to get over the death of a spouse. Men seem to get through the process faster. That might just be because Men never really process the death of their spouse.
If you don’t let your spouse know how special they’ve been and the specific things that have made your life work you’re not being fair. You and your spouse have hopefully spent many years together. You should each write a final love letter to each other. The one who’s left living will be glad they have it.
Write about your feelings about your children and make sure the letter is shared.
The same is true for your children as your spouse. They also will have a hard time letting go. If you write them a letter with specifics about what’s made them special in your life they’ll appreciate it. You help keep your memory alive with your children. If you have grandchildren include them in the letter. If you have the ability to do a video and most of us do, why don’t you just make this into a video letter?
You must share this letter or video with your children before you die. I think too often there is unsettled business that could have been very easily taken care of, if only we bothered to do so.
Your letter needs to talk about what your life has meant to you.
In your letter talk about what’s important in your life. What are the things you cherished? What are the memories that were really special? What was it like growing up? What was it like raising your children? What was it like after you became an empty nester…..you get the idea?
All of these questions are things your family will love to know. We don’t tell others what’s important for us. We wait for them to figure it out. And figuring it out is just too hard.
Your letter should cover the really important stuff.
Use the word love. You can also use the word hate, if you really need to. Have your letter be about your feelings. Have your letter be about what’s really important to you. After all, it’s your letter.
It’s OK to have this letter be a long one.
This is probably going to be a very long letter. It’s probably going to take you a lot of time to write it. I bet if you really cover all of the important things, your letter is likely going to be five to twenty pages long. It’s OK for it to be that long. Be complete and cover all of the things you think are important.
Both you and your family will be glad you did.
This is Josh Patrick and I’m glad you spent a few minutes with us.