A little over a week ago, my paternal grandmother had a stroke and sadly passed away a few nights later. She was 102 and had an awe-inspiring life, so mixed with our family’s sorrow was a celebration of a spectacular woman. Unfortunately, also among the sorrow and celebration was some stress.
Even though my grandmother had her proverbial “affairs in order” since the time she was 93 — burial plot purchased, funeral home under contract, ceremony officiant chosen, Last Will and Testament and estate papers organized and properly filed — there were still people to notify, a death certificate to be obtained and filed with numerous state and private entities, papers to sign, bills to be paid, a large family to gather, a funeral and meal to plan, and all of her belongings removed from her nursing home. She did as much as possible to alleviate her family’s anxiety by having as many details coordinated as she could, but some stress remained. I can’t imagine how chaotic the past 10 days would have been had she not been so well organized.
I know I wrote about it many times in August, but now seems like an extremely relevant moment to remind everyone to create an “In case of …” file. Being organized has many personal benefits, but having an “In case of …” file is the best way you can benefit the other people in your life. In fact, it may be the most important area of your life to have organized. Obviously, the hope is that none of your family and friends will have to look at this file until you are 102 or older. Just the same, make the file now. It is good to have the file in cases of illness or injury, not just in case of death, for others to help you carry out your responsibilities while you recover. You want to do as much as possible to relieve the stress on the people who care about you in case something awful does happen.
Articles to help you create an “In case of …” file:
- Creating an “In case of …” file
- Including instructions for handling your online identity in your “In case of …” file
- In case of death …
- If you have pets, consider putting together an “In case of …” file for them, too: Organizing pet information in case of emergency