Making it easier for others
I don’t know about you but I have become increasingly aware of my mortality particularly in recent months. Having survived the first lockdowns I am being much more affected by this round. In the first round I knew people who knew people who had had COVID or died of it. This time I actually know and work with people who have had it and also who have died of it. They were in full health one week, and dead two weeks later. So, I got round to thinking what would happen if it happened to me.
If you get ill and When you die
I thought I ought to put a note on my fridge about who to contact in case in emergency. Then I didn’t know who to put. So I thought I better get my act together – and find a representative to represent me, look after me and undertake my wishes.
If you are ill (this can include: suddenly hospitalised, chronically ill, no longer able to make decisions due to dementia etc) you will need to appoint someone to be your chosen representative with power of attorney for when you are incapacitated. They need the authority to access to your computer, bank, house. hospital, enact your living will and inform people. And make sure people know who it is. In each country the rules are different.
When you die (this can result from terminal illness, dropping dead or sudden death from, for example, a car accident) you will need an executor. The power of attorney ceases when you die. You will need the executor to bury you, enact your will, close your bank accounts, pass on your business, delete you social media. Your executor therefore needs to be told about your death, and others need to know who your executor is.
Choosing the right person
You need someone to have power of attorney, and you need someone to be executor. You will also need a way of having substitutes in case they are not able to act on your behalf. I already have one executor die – and he was 20 years younger than me. You will need their agreement and permission. People need to know who it is.
If, like me, you are not living in the country you were born, have no relatives, the country’s language is not yours and the law is in that language, and you haven’t been there that long, then you need to get everything in place as the defaults are unpalatable. You will need a ‘Last will and testament’. If you have assets in more than one country or reside in more than one country you will need more than one Will.
And finally – if you are a person with the power of attorney or executor make sure your papers are in order. I had power of attorney/executor for my father and I could not prove who I was at his bank as my passport had expired.
Generally, when you die it is clear. When you are ill it is not so clear. Someone has to have the authority to decide. People think they are immortal, and would rather not think about it. And then suddenly…
Note: I am not an expert in this. But having set this up I reserve the right to be self righteous. Ask and I will give you more detail, however you should get professional advice.