I was recently having coffee with an old friend I had not seen for some years. He told me he had been in a dreadful car accident and had a near-death experience.
He almost died at the scene. Knowing my involvement with Financial Mappers he shared with me his thoughts in those few moments when he thought he was about to die.
My friend said that he was quite amazed at the one thought that flashed into his mind as he lay on the side of the road with people all trying to assist. His biggest concern was:
I forgot to make a will.
Will my wife forgive me if I die?
She was always telling me we had to make our wills,
but I kept putting it off – always too busy!
He said that as the ambulance sirens were blaring, he had this constant thought:
I can’t die, I haven’t made my will.
Fortunately, he did recover but spent some months in hospital. For some weeks of that time, he was in a coma. In addition to not having made a will, neither of them had Power of Attorney documents signed.
He was the main bread provider and managed all their financial affairs. Suddenly his wife had to take on the responsibility. This was difficult because she did not know what to do and as she did not have Power of Attorney, she could not pay the bills, from her small bank account. Most of the money and investments were in his name only. She did not know his passwords and she did not know where all the important documents such as insurance were kept.
While he was recovering in the hospital for some months, he had time for reflection. He spent many hours with his wife discussing their life together while he lay in hospital. They discussed how they had to get their financial affairs in order.
When he was finally released from the hospital, the first thing they did was to see an estate lawyer. He advised that the following documents should be completed for both:
- Last Will and Testament
- Power of Attorney
- Advance Care Directive (Living Will)
The lawyer also discussed whether it was appropriate he places some of the investments in a Family Trust. This means that those assets are not part of the will and cannot be disputed. The trustees decide how those assets are managed and the trust sets out who are the beneficiaries of the trust.
My friend’s near-death experience made him realize that to protect your family, you must find the time to set all your financial affairs in order. How would your family cope, if a stranger turned up at your home and said your partner won’t be coming home?
While he was in the hospital he found a great book, in their library. The book was called Trial & Heirs – Famous Fortune Fights. I also found this a fantastic book and have written a book review for Good Financial Reads.
Glenis Phillips – Designer of Financial Mappers
Check out these articles about Wills and Power of Attorney
- Understanding a Last Will & Testament in Layments Terms (Australian Seniors)
- What do you need to know about advance care planning (five.good.friends)