REVIEW: In Case You Get Hit by a Bus by Abby Schneiderman, Adam Seifer, and Gene Newman
A step-by-step program for getting your life in order, so you’re prepared for the unexpected.
The odds of getting hit by a bus are 495,000 to 1. But the odds that you’re going to die some day? Exactly.
Even the most disorganized among us can take control of our on- and off-line details so our loved ones won’t have to scramble later. The experts at Everplans, a leading company in digital life planning, make it possible in this essential and easy-to-follow book. Breaking the task down into three levels, from the most urgent (like granting access to passwords), to the technical (creating a manual for the systems in your home), to the nostalgic (assembling a living memory), this clear, step-by-step program not only removes the anxiety and stress from getting your life in order, it’s actually liberating. And deeply satisfying, knowing that you’re leaving the best parting gift imaginable.
When you finish this book, you will have: A system for managing all your passwords and secret codes. Organized your money and assets, bills and debts. A complete understanding of all the medical directives and legal documents you need––including Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts. A plan for meaningful photos, recipes, and family heirlooms. Records of your personal history, interests, beliefs, and life lessons. An instruction manual for your home and vehicles. Your funeral planned and obituary written (if you’re up for it)
Tis the month of New Year’s Resolutions and this book checks off mine, namely to get my affairs in order with advanced planning. Some things I’ve done (I’ve got a Will though it desperately needs updating) while others (HCPOA, POA) are things that I think about, think I need to get this done, and then haven’t moved past that. But here, in an easy to read format, is about everything that one might need to get done plus a few things I hadn’t even thought of. No, contemplating one’s mortality isn’t a laugh a minute but no one gets out of this alive.
The book is divided into sections and gently eases you into the various things that will help you in the event you can’t speak for yourself or will assist your loved ones (or those who get stuck with cleaning up your affairs) after you’re gone. There are some anecdotes included to help make the points more relatable and bring it home that this is something people need to think about and then go do. Beyond the usual Wills and putting sticky notes on objects to go to certain people, we now have a digital world that must be dealt with. Some things will end when you do but others, with monthly auto payments, need to be stopped in order to avoid unnecessary draining of your bank account. Then there’s the stuff on your computer that you don’t want others to see. Yeah, porn stashes are listed as major embarrassments next of kin sometimes discover on a deceased’s computer. You also want someone who is absolutely discreet to clean out your home.
Closing down social media accounts, cancelling credit cards, and Ebay or Amazon accounts helps prevent identity theft and unauthorized shopping sprees. And don’t forget unused gift cards or all that online media you’ve bought and which retailers consider that you’ve only “rented” for your lifetime. Oh, and you might want to consider the photos you’re storing in the Cloud, with Amazon, or other online storage sites.
The book doesn’t deal with any end-of-life medical issues or hospice – just getting everything neat and tidy so someone could step in and act for you if, for whatever reason, you can’t. They do mention their company which can help with all this but also give lots of other choices – many free or low cost – which can do the same things.
Takeaways from the book? Passwords, passwords, passwords and the authentications needed to access accounts. Any wishes you have or legal forms that you’ve filled out – LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THEM. Carefully choose the people you wish to act for you and again – let them know you’ve done this and talk with them to see if they’ll do what you want. At a time when your nearest and dearest are grieving or grappling with your medical issues, having all your medical, legal, and financial ducks in a row will take some of the burden off. B