Yesterday, I showed M the route Andy was climbing when he had his accident. Tomorrow, a (very kind) first responder will be taking the family to the spot where he was found.

Andy’s death means I need to review my Estate Plan. These articles are going to be a guide for the survivors of my death.

I’m sharing because it’s worth taking the time to sort things out for the people you love. You don’t want them arguing (and feeling victimized by your lack of planning) when they should be focusing on strengthening a survivor mentality

Remember this mantra

Is this my decision to make?

Well, is it?

If it is your decision to make then (1) listen to others, (2) take your time, and (3) do your best.

If it is not your decision to make then, ideally, let go of outcome.

He would have wanted…

For my kids’ entire lives, they have heard me say… “if you don’t want it enough to change then you don’t really want it.”

The post-death equivalent… “if I didn’t care enough to write it down (and have it witnessed by two unconnected parties) then I didn’t care what happened.”

So don’t beat yourselves up trying to figure out what I would have done. If I didn’t specify then I clearly left it for the survivors to decide what’s best, based on the circumstances at the time.

But remember…

Is this my decision to make?

I am not my stuff.

You won’t find me in my stuff.

I am inside every cell of your body and you are going to hear me inside your head for the rest of your life.

So make peace with me.

That said, it’s human nature to want a physical memory of our loved ones. Some examples when the process of sorting personal effects has gone well.

Young death, happened quickly, not a lot of assets => everyone connected to the deceased got to pick one item from his stuff. No questions asked. First, his family took what they wanted, Second, friends took one thing to remember him.

Old death, happened gradually, plenty of assets => there was a gradual reduction in personal effects, over decades. Gradual gifting and relaxed discussions sorted who-gets-what at least a decade prior to death. She even went so far as to label the items in her home for which kid would receive.

Before you take anything…

  • Clear with the person who’s decision it is to make
  • Document their permission – memories don’t work (at all) under stress

That’s kind of fast…

If you are a young person, or someone who has been spared life changing grief, then acknowledge you know nothing about what the survivors are going through.

Loss of a child, loss of a parent, loss of a spouse => big life cycle events.

If you’ve never been there then resist the urge to offer your opinion => better to listen and accept.

Til death do us part.

When I die, my marriage is over.

I’ve been thanking my wife, frequently, for as long as I can remember. What a wonderful ride we are having!

I’d prefer my marriage not to continue after my death (but that won’t be my decision to make!).

Anyhow, I’m putting this out there for my kids.

Their role is to support each other and accept (especially, when it’s not their decision to make 😉 ).

This ran longer than expected.

I’ll introduce the technical stuff in another post.