Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Death & Taxes

  There are some things you need to be doing. Today. Now. This moment. Particularly if you have children. Some of these things, I've been pretty good about, and some I had to learn the hard way. The way nobody wants to learn. I call it the "it's too late" way.
You can't make too many plans in life because the course that you've prepared is sure to change right under your feet. Like quicksand. The strong will adapt to the change and the rest will sink down under the suffocation of the sand, never to use their own two feet again.
However, there are a few things you can count on with 100% certainty in this life. You've heard this before, right? Death and taxes. You're going to die. Yes, YOU. Not if. Not maybe. Just a matter of when. So, don't let that last pinch of fine sand slip through to the bottom of the hourglass before you evaluate what will be left behind when you are gone.
Here is what I have to impart onto you... so far:

1. Take pictures. Sounds simple enough, right? How about make sure you're in them. You will want your children to remember you. They will want to see you. They will want to see you with them.  One day, you will wonder how there are so few pictures of you and your kids, you and your parents, you and your spouse, you in your 30's, and so on. Ignore the blogs ripping "selfies" and take lots of selfies. Every crappy cell phone has a camera nowadays. It doesn't cost you anything to freeze that little moment. Take holiday pictures, birthday pictures, plain ol' Tuesday pictures. You'll be glad, and possibly even desperate for them, later.


2. Don't be stubborn... unless you're willing to die with it. There was someone in Jason's life with whom he had not spoken in much longer than should have been allowed. It was one of the first things I thought of when he died. How will this person take this news? What would Jason say if he knew this? He loved this person so much. If you have things to say, don't leave them unsaid. That corny saying about not staying mad at someone has been said for a reason. Like most annoying cliches, they got their basis somewhere, from someone. Someone who has lived through it before you.


3. Be insured. All of you. Unless you AND your spouse can each pay your own way, and that of your children, alone, of course. Why am I talking to so many people who still don't have life insurance? Go and call today. Get a plan. If you think it won't happen to you, you are gambling with your family's future. Ask me if I could have imagined or expected what happened to my life 6 weeks ago. Ask yourself who will be left in devastation when you die, and particularly if it happens tomorrow. Only then you can assess how important it is to have and how much you need to get. Hopefully you won't need it, but one thing I can promise you is that death doesn't have to give you a heads up. It creeps up unexpectedly. Accidents happen. Violence happens. 32-year-old widows with two babies happen. And if you're lucky (?) enough to know it's coming, you won't be insurable then anyway. So, like I said... do it. Now.
Of course, my grandmother always had her own kind of life insurance. She said she knew she would never be a rich woman, so she made sure my grandpa was insured... and my grandpa is still a young 85 years, so maybe she was right. Either theory, you're gonna need the insurance.

4. I am going to piggyback on #3. Have a will. Again, particularly if you own anything at all (home, car, retirement account, investments, savings accounts, CDs, bonds, stocks, property, land, businesses, etc) or have children, you NEED a will. And you need to assign beneficiaries to your bank accounts and insurance plans.  Why are so many 30-somethings telling me they "need to get to that soon" or that they simply don't have one? I am hoping it is because of ignorance rather than invincible delusions. And I hope to clear that up some today. Make your wishes known. Know the wishes of your loved ones. Does he want to be cremated? Do you want to be buried? Does your mother's mother's mother's fine china go to your daughter or to good will? Who gets to raise your children if the unthinkable happens? Who will decide how they celebrate Christmas or if they go to church, or temple, or synagogue? Who do you want making your final decisions? Who do you want to have all your Rolling Stones vinyls? Then, after you address all the major and minor things that matter to you, write that shit down. Yes, I said a bad word. I really wanted to project an affect here. So, like a sailor, I chose cursing this time. Seriously, stop reading this and go to legalzoom.com, or you big shots call your lawyers, or notarize a piece of notebook paper. There are a lot of easy do-it-yourself templates online. Just make sure you at least have it notarized. All states have different rules, so please look into them. I hope to not know anyone who would be so arrogant as to think he or she won't be the one something happens to. Jason did not have a will. So, I guess I know one... God love him.

P.S. As for the taxes, I'll just say this: Al Capone.
The gangster, bootlegger, organized crime boss who killed half of Chicago in the 1920's finally ended up in federal prison for one thing. Tax evasion. You are gonna pay them both eventually. Death and taxes.

                                                                 Sincerely hoping to help others,

(Extreme close up!)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this, you did help. Keeping y'all in my thoughts and prayers.