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Organizing Your Exit

My cousin, Kevin, just received a new heart yesterday. He had been on the wait list for a heart donor for almost a year after having a massive heart attack. A selfless and courageous 23-year-old man (whom we don’t know) was tragically killed and donated his heart. This wonderful blessing for my cousin amid tragic circumstances for another family has led me to think about little talked about aspect of organizing: Organizing Your Exit.

We are all going to die. No one likes to hear it, but the truth remains. We have little control over when we will exit, but what we can control is what happens to us after we die. If you have a spouse or kids or nieces or nephews or brothers or sisters, your exit could have not only an emotional impact, but a financial one, so being organized will help them tremendously. Plus, deciding what you want done with your body will take the burden of difficult decisions off your family and you may even be able to save a life, as in the case of the young man who donated his organs to my cousin.

Here are some things you should have in writing:

  • A will
  • Advanced Directives – instructions given by individuals specifying what actions should be taken for their health in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity.
  • Medical Power of Attorney – a legal document that designates an individual to make medical decisions for you in the event that you’re unable to do so.
  • A list of all your financial accounts and insurance policies with account numbers.
  • Your wishes for wakes, funeral services, memorials, cremations, burials.

This may not be a glamorous organizing project, but it is a responsible and important one! Please take the time to get your ducks in a row.

On a personal note, please consider becoming an organ donor!

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