Do you hate thinking about your death or leaving your family behind?
You are not alone. I know it’s a morbid thought.
You just had a new baby. You are a new parent, and life seems to have begun all over for you again. Death is far from your mind.
But then you’re told to prepare for your death just in case you die young. You read things that tell you to take critical steps before you die. Why??
I saw this quote once….
“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies life.” -Candy Chang
And it is so true, especially as a new parent.
My husband and I were forced to think about death and take action to prepare for an untimely death right after we became new parents. I had a brain aneurysm and was undergoing surgery.
Although the odds of my surviving the surgery were super high, we wanted to have a plan in place just in case.
Because once you have a new baby and become a parent, you learn that your life is much more than being all about you. It’s about your children and what legacy you want to leave behind.
Taking action as a new parent to prepare for your death will make it much easier for the family you leave behind. In their grief, they will seek comfort in knowing the great lengths you went to in order to make sure they are safe, secure, and loved even in your death.
It’s all about making sure your family is okay without you.
That’s why I have six critical steps you can do today before you die to leave an everlasting legacy to your kids.
Lauren Barrett Writes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
6 Critical Steps New Parents Can Take Before They Die
STEP #1: GET LIFE INSURANCE
If you didn’t already have life insurance before kids, now is an imperative time to get life insurance.
Why parents should have life insurance before they die is an important question to ask.
Sure, most of us imagine living a full life and amassing plenty of money to leave behind to our kids and husbands once we pass away.
But, what about, God forbid, you die young and unexpectedly?
In the absence of life insurance, the burden of bills, mortgages, education, and other day-to-day expenses now lies on the shoulders of a spouse or other family member.
But with life insurance, the deceased parent’s life insurance policy will provide money to a beneficiary to help cover important financial costs for your kids.
As a working mom providing an income to help support my family, my death would mean my family would stop getting a paycheck. Getting life insurance is a critical step I, as a new parent, can take before I die to make sure my family is set up for life…just in case.
Think life insurance is only for working moms and dads? Think again.
Stay-at-home moms and dads without a steady income are also providing crucial care and need to be covered in the event of an early death.
If a stay-at-home mom (or dad) dies prematurely while her kids are still young, childcare and help around the will now need to be provided which costs money.
Thus, having life insurance will help offset that cost.
Look into life insurance today especially if you are a new parent.
STEP #2: HAVE A WILL
If you are like me, you picture writing a will when you are old and ready to pass away like you see in all the TV shows and movies.
But right before I was about to have my brain aneurysm surgery, we decided to get a will.
A will not only designates who gets your money and assets once you die, but it also notes who will watch over your kids if both parents die and who your medical power of attorney is.
In my case, that was important. What if something went wrong with my surgery? I needed someone to make decisions for me in case I was incapable of doing so.
As a new parent, get a will right away. It is such an important step to take before you die.
Without one, in the event of your death, the courts will handle who will watch over your children and what to do with your money. And that could get messy. You don’t want that.
Right now, my parents, since they are younger, will be guardians of our child with my husband’s parents as second in line.
An important thing to note, is to update your will frequently as people age, money and assets amass, and circumstances change.
STEP #3: PLAN YOUR FUNERAL AND LEAVE INSTRUCTIONS
This was hard for me to swallow. Plan my funeral as a young mom? What?
But it is yet another critical step to take before I die. Why?
Death, especially a tragic, unexpectant, or young death, leaves the family members left people full of grief, sorrow, and often unable to think clearly - let alone plan a detailed funeral to honor their loved ones .
Leaving instructions behind will help ease this burden.
So what I did was make a folder in my Google Drive that I shared with my husband.
My goal for this year was to update this folder monthly with all kinds of death preparation.
In this folder, I started documenting what type of funeral I want. I’m Catholic, so I left the name and number of the church where I would like my mass to take place.
I listed my favorite readings, hymns, and songs that I would like to be read and sung at my funeral.
I listed people who I would like to read or speak at my funeral.
I listed directives and questions to ask for planning a Catholic funeral.
I plan to leave a list of my favorite charities where I would love people to contribute in the event of my death.
I’ll even go as far to probably outline an obituary that I’ll update ever so often.
*I mainly did this because I love to write, and my husband won’t do my obituary justice 😂 (I swear I’m not a narcissist)*
I am doing this all to leave my parents, spouse, and child unencumbered with the difficult, minute details that go into death.
It’s something you can start today and contribute to a little each month.
STEP #4: KEEP A LIST OF ASSETS AND DEBTS
In a safe or a Google Drive folder have a list of all your debts and assets before you die.
Your debts can include
Your assets can include
In your file, leave a list of instructions on who should handle your debts and assets (these can also be included in your will) and who will inherit these things (especially your assets).
For example, I have a lot of journals, notebooks filled with writing, scrapbooks, and boxes of pictures that I don’t want to be thrown away.
In my preparation for death, I would designate who would receive these assets. As a writer, I perhaps would want some of my unpublished work to later be published posthumously; therefore, I would need to document in writing what these pieces are and who should handle them in the event of my death.
Another thing to note is to keep a list of all the bills and how to handle them. My husband’s Fair Play card is the Money Manager. He handles all of our bills and payments, thank the Lord. Money is definitely his strong suit, not mine.
If he were to die, I would be overwhelmed trying to figure that all out. Thankfully, he has prepared for his death by keeping a list of all of this important information for me.
On the other hand, I handle more of the personal stuff like birthdays, holidays, and school. I can leave a list of important birthdays - whom to send a card or gift to - or whom to buy holiday gifts for.
STEP #5: WRITE PERSONAL LETTERS
On the surface, writing personal letters before you die might not seem so critical, but, I dare to say, it is.
As a writer and someone who loves to receive and give handwritten notes, I couldn’t imagine dying now and my son growing up without some type of sentiment I leave behind for him.
That’s why I plan to write him a letter every five years, and if I happen to live until a ripe old age, he now has a letter from me at every age and stage of his life, which I imagine will be very special to him one day.
Because I am extra, I also plan to write letters to my husband, parents, friends, and other important family and people in my life. In the event of my death, I will have someone distribute or share these letters.
Though, perhaps, I won’t update those every five years. That kind of seems like a lot of work.
Not one for writing? You can leave video messages behind, which would be just as special.
STEP #6: KEEP A LIST OF LOGIN INFORMATION AND CONTACTS
Lastly, and this is important, before you die keep a list of all login information and important contacts in a safe place in which someone can access in the event of your death.
I left behind my login information for all of my emails and social media accounts.
If you handle the finances, keep a list of logins for all banks and financial apps.
You can keep a list of contact information for people who handle your mortgage, insurance, taxes, car maintenance, finances, will, house repairs, etc.
Death of a loved one is a stressful, sorrowful time, and the last thing I want is for a loved one frantically rummaging around trying to find all of this information during an already overwhelming period for them.
Death is scary to think about, but what is even scarier to think about is being unprepared for your death.
To make it easier for me, I picked one of these things to build a folder for each month. Once I have made the foundation, I will continue to update it and add to it as I age and learn more.
New parents’ taking these steps before they die is a loving gift they can give to their children. Preparing for death doesn’t have to be so scary and daunting if you follow this guide.
Join the conversation below and contribute some of the ways you have already prepared for your own death.
And share this post with any new parent you know.
We can all be prepared together.