I recently received the unfortunate news that a client of mine had passed away rather suddenly. Yes, he did have long standing health issues but it was still such a shock to me. He had a major medical event and was carried out of his home on a stretcher, never to return.
Our paths intertwined when he needed a realtor. He had enlisted me to sell his home and find a new, wheelchair-friendly location for him. We became friends during this process. He had spent months struggling and fighting to beat the odds. After being told he would likely never get out of bed again, he regained a limited ability to walk. I marvelled at his progress and enjoyed visiting him. I tried to stay in touch on a fairly regular basis just to see how he was doing and give him a hand where I could. I was surprised to get the call from a mutual friend of ours with the news that he had passed away. This news weighed heavy in my heart and I was unprepared for the sobering effect his passing had on me.
His family called me a short while after he passed to inquire if I could help them piece together his estate. They were having trouble sourcing his Will and while he was not a “wealthy” person, he did have assets that were now, for the time being, left in limbo.
This opened my eyes! The light bulb turned on and hit me like a lightning bolt. What if I had walked down his life path? What if I had been stricken and left to a wheel chair then had to learn to walk again? I have a very supportive family but what would this burden mean to me and my way of life? I took this sobering moment to take stock of my life. I suddenly recognized that while I had set up some contingencies, I am woefully underprepared for major catastrophic life events. It occurred to me even if I don’t have a mountain of assets I do own real estate.
I have worked hard for what I have. It is very important these assets do not end up “in limbo.” I do not want a government appointed trustee to disburse my assets! So, I am having a Will prepared. I am also taking steps to ensure if I am ever incapacitated in the future that I have disability insurance, so my wife and family do not have to worry about the cost of care and the issues of no income or perhaps a temporary loss of work. Finally, I will be setting up a Power of Attorney.
These are often issues we don’t want to face. I urge you to take action to help the people you care about and consider at least a basic Will. Make a clear plan with your wishes known. If you have questions, I am happy to share what I know through my experience.