What Happens To Your Stuff – When You Die?
In June 2017 we went through the unexpected death of a loved one and five months later I wrote post called “What Happens to Your Stuff” that got a lot of things out of my head and off my chest. I am going to re-post some of what I wrote and update it now that after more than a year, the “stuff” side of things is finally over.
That’s right, it has been over a year and we are just finishing up the paper chase and finally getting closure regarding my brother-in-law’s death. It has been a long and tough year plus, emotionally and physically partially due to things that he didn’t take care of before he died.
I am not being morbid or bitter, just brutally honest and I am doing it purposely, because I do want you to think for a minute about what I have written. It is something that I believe is important to you and yours – it is not some fluff piece or something that I have chosen to simply whine, piss or moan about.
It is about life…and yes, death.
First and foremost, contrary to myth, legend and too much wishful thinking, we all die at some point.
The big questions are: when, how and where – not if.
That means to put it bluntly you and I will be dead at some point and we will leave people behind that will have to take care of our bodies, personal effects or properties.
Prepare a Damn Will
Take care of the things you can take care of now, BEFORE you die.
After you are dead, you cannot do a damn thing about any of those things – if you have not made your intentions known in a legal document.
It is called a WILL.
Prepare one and get it done right, not half-arsed!!!
I don’t care if you are 18, 28, 48 or 108, have the damn Will properly done. It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, destitute or somewhere in between. A properly prepared Will tells the government, your survivors and anyone else that matters what you want done with your body and your “stuff” after you are dead.
If you do nothing else this one thing will save the people who have to deal with your death many headaches and heartaches and empower them to take care of stuff you leave behind.
Without a Will, the Courts (government) have the final say about what happens to you and your stuff. It probably won’t be what you wanted or expected to have happen and will cost your survivors money to pay for the lawyers who are required to be involved.
Except in specific instances the people who survive you, often simply can’t just take things or start living in your old home without the Court’s permission or they may have to pay market value for your old stuff that they want to keep from your estate – no matter how big or small.
Remember without a Will, the Courts and lawyers have most of the power over your stuff.
If you own a home get it up to code and repair what needs to be repaired. However, those things that we adapt to, jury-rig and don’t really notice anymore are things that can cause major headaches for those who have to pick up the pieces after you die.
Check out your heating system, plumbing, etc. and see if they are up to your local building codes – if not get going on repairs or if you know there are other repairs that need to be done and can afford to get the work done – do it. For your own safety and also to make it easier on the people who have to take care of your home after you are dead.
If you can’t afford the repair costs, then talk with the people who you expect to take care of things once you are dead and figure out a plan for your home going forward with them. Otherwise they are going to have to spend their time and money bringing your home and property back up to code, so they can either live in it, rent it out or sell it.
You do it now or they get to do it later.
Get Rid of Shit
I am not saying that you need to embrace minimalism, but all that great stuff you have collected over the course of your life and have coming out of the closets, stored in the basement or attic, in the garage or heaven forbid in a storage facility.
You know those great collections of old computers, porn magazines from the 70’s & 80’s, baseball cards, comic books, the boat, camper, vehicles that don’t run, guns, hunting gear, books, shot glasses, spoons, running shoes, all those projects that you were going to start/finish and have the materials for (but you know that you will never actually get to), the old games, pieces of furniture you no longer like/use and all the other shit that you are hanging on to for no reason other than to hang on to it.
Don’t justify keeping all that shit by saying – “they” can sell everything and get money for it. You know the old idea of: have a yard sale, sell it on eBay, Uncle Henry’s or someplace else.
That is mostly bullshit and not reality.
Think about it, who in the hell wants to take the time to sell all of their mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or worse a child’s possessions, when they are in the midst of grieving about you being dead and gone.
The biggest thing on their mind during that time is thinking about how much you will be missed and all they want to do is get rid of the shit as fast as possible. So they can get back to living their life and not having to grieve over and over, about something that brings back another fantastic memory of you.
The Reality is That
I would like you to think about what I have said in this post.
Am I being barbaric to ask to you to actually think about your being dead and what will happen to your body and possessions when it happens?
No, I personally do not think so, I think it is prudent and thoughtful on your part to make your passing easier on the ones you loved who are still alive, especially if your death is unexpected.
Think about those people and loved ones who have to throw out your dirty underwear or other possessions or stuff that you don’t want the world or even your spouse/children to know about. Get rid of them now, not later when there is no choice in the matter about who is going to see that shit and have to dispose of those items.
Remember, we all die and don’t take anything with us to whatever there is beyond that death.
I strongly believe it is our responsibility while we are still alive to make it easier on the loved ones you do leave behind, to get rid of as much “stuff” as you can and still live a comfortable life before you pass, and probably most importantly have an up to date Last Will and Testament that the Courts will recognize.
The bottom line is – it is your shit and your responsibility to take care of it, so someone else does not have to.
So do it.