We all tend to over pack for trips even when we agonize about what we’re taking and leaving behind. But it’s the unusual person who also thinks about whether their family has the information they need if there is an accident, if their affairs are in order and information readily accessible to loved ones and strangers. This tends to be even more common when a couple is relatively young and life seems to be stretching before them.
The tragedy of this lack of preparation was recently brought home in a very real way when a very fit, very healthy friend escorted his daughters from Texas to a national softball tournament in the northeast. After dropping them off at the games he drove off to get the team water, Gatorade and other critical supplies. Shortly after leaving the ballpark, he had a heart attack, drove into a building and was instantly killed.
His death was a huge, unexpected tragedy for his family and friends. But what compounds the pain of this particular situation is that no one knows if he had a will to care for the three daughters and wife he adored. His wife doesn’t know the name of his attorney, or even where a will or any insurance policies might be located. Family are calling friends to see who knows what and who can help find critical documents that are necessary not just now, but to secure their future.
Unfortunately, this kind of painful tragic accident is not uncommon. At Y Collaborative we are frequently faced with families thrown into crisis. So when you’re planning a trip, here are some things we always recommend:
1) Have a conversation with your family. Let them know (and any other close friends or advisers) where your will is, your important papers are and what provisions you have made.
2) Take out trip insurance. It doesn’t cost much, but can make bringing you home after any kind of accident or trip interruption much easier and far less costly.
3) Actually do the work. Make a simple will, especially if you have children who depend on you and your provision for them. We promise you it’s not hard, doesn’t have to cost much (and frequently can be free) and it can give you and them peace of mind.
4) Accidents can happen at any age. You don’t have to be old to think about how you want to provide for your family and what you want to happen when accidents arise. Preparation is not only wise to avoid throwing families into crises that could be avoided. It’s the greatest gift you can give your loved ones.
5) Help is available if you need it. If you need help with your decision-making process, we’re happy to talk with you. Planning doesn’t need to be painful or time-consuming.
If you need a place to keep your important information, our workbook “Put Life in Order. Put Worry Away” is designed to be a go-to resource for all the answers your family needs. It can be invaluable if you are suddenly unable to speak for yourself.
We want you to enjoy your trip, but we also want all of you to enjoy peace of mind.