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How to Die Properly, Part 1


Photo Credit: Barry Price

During college, a friend of mine crooned a song by the Toadies with creepy intonation. “Do you wanna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie?”

I had the unfortunate luck to catch his eye mid-grimace. Entertained by my squeamish reaction, he provided disturbing serenades for the next several years. To this day, I cringe at the memory.

The answer is a resounding no.

I do not.

However, there’s not much I can do about dying. Neither can you.

Eventually, death comes to us all.

If you read my last post, you know we recently lost my father in law. Thankfully, he did almost everything possible to make this process easier on the family.

Here are three easy ways to make our demise easier on loved ones.

  1. Have a plan.

    • Put the end game in writing.

      • According to this USA Today article, 64% of adults in the U.S. don’t have a written will. Write one.
      • A lawyer may not be necessary. Check out this AARP post for specifics.
      • Research the laws in your state; some (Connecticut, for instance) have strange guidelines. Think you’ll leave everything to your spouse? Want it all divvied up equally among your kids? Put it in ink or the courts might decide on your behalf—and the outcome may surprise your family.
    • Be sure the plan is accessible.

      • A written will doesn’t help if no one can retrieve it. Emotions will run high and may be volatile. Don’t add the stress of trying to locate or access paperwork.
      • Small fire-safe boxes are available at home improvement stores. Give a copy of the key or combination to a trusted friend or family member. Keep it at home, not in a bank lock box (which might require a court order).
  2. Communicate.

    • Inform people who need to know.

      • Tell your significant other, children, lawyer or other trusted individual where you have stored your will, insurance information, etc.
    • Discuss your wishes with more than one person.

      • In addition to putting your wishes in writing, inform family members and/or close friends. Want to be cremated? Tell your family, so it’s no surprise.
  3. Get a policy.

    • Life insurance.

      • Even though most of us know we should have life insurance, 40% of us don’t. Without life insurance, our loved ones may be left footing unexpected bills.
    • Death insurance.

      • Okay, it’s not actually called death insurance. But at the very least, consider a policy that will cover expenses, especially if you want a casket and in-ground burial. The average cost of cremation is around $1100, while burial costs can exceed ten times that amount.


This is only a start. Click the links in this post for articles providing a wealth of information.

If you have experience to share, please add it below. All of us die eventually; we might as well work together.




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