Last Monday I lost my step brother in a tragic and fatal car accident, he was only 34 years old. It was my step brother’s turn to go out and pick up lunch for his co workers; he was killed in a car accident on his way back to work from his lunch break. I am sure that when my step brother ate breakfast on Monday morning, he never thought that it would be his last meal. When my Mom told me the news I couldn’t help but think about what I was doing on Monday during my lunch break. Although we do our best to plan for unforeseen emergencies, sometimes we just can’t be fully prepared for the unpredictable.
In the world of finance we always want to protect our assets, accumulate our wealth, and provide for our families. However, we have to realise that death is not only a financial loss; it’s the loss of a life. I am sure that my step brother didn’t expect his drive to the local lunch spot on Monday to be his last lunch break for the rest of his life. I am also sure that his wife and two daughters never predicted that their husband and father wouldn’t be home for dinner on Monday night.
We can do our best to provide an income for our loved ones after we are gone with life insurance, and we can do our best to leave our final legacy behind by drafting a Will and keeping it up to date; but we can never fully be prepared for the unexpected loss of a life. Think about someone you know with a family; are they financially prepared if they suddenly lost their primary source of income?
It is easy to be prepared for the financial loss that occurs with a death, we can draft a Will and keep it up to date, and we can ensure our assets are protected with insurance. What we cannot be prepared for is the tragedy and sorrow that comes with the loss of a life.
My step brother’s wife will now be mortgage free thanks to their homeowners life insurance policy, and his two daughters will now be able to attend college debt free thanks to his life insurance proceeds. However, I am sure that his wife would rather make a mortgage payment and sleep next to her husband every night. I am sure that his daughters would give back their college tuition to have their father at their college graduation.
I know that it may seem morbid to talk about our last wishes, funeral arrangements, and financial legacy upon death; however, it has to be done. My mother and step father made funeral arrangements based on what they thought my step brother would want. But the truth is, they were not one hundred percent sure.
Surviving family members are so preoccupied while grieving the loss of a life that funeral arrangements and flower arrangements are the last thing on their minds. However the truth is that both funeral arrangements and financial arrangements have to be made.
We can make the tragedy a little bit easier on our surviving family members if we take precautions and prepare our final funeral arrangements. The cost of a funeral including burial or cremation as well as transportation of the body is approximately$10,000. I have clients who have already prepaid for their funeral as well as their headstone to lighten the financial burden on their family upon death.
Even if someone has very little financial assets, it is still important to draft a Will and keep it up to date. Last wishes and funeral arrangements are an important part of our last Will and testament. A funeral leaves a personal legacy the same way that a Will leaves a financial legacy. We will always be remembered by our funeral because that is the last time our family will ever see us.