Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kiss My Ash

This is an urn. It looks remarkably like the kind of vase you could buy for $29.95 at Target. But when you buy it from a funeral home, and it is used to contain ashes, not flowers, it costs $1,000.[1]

So here are a few tips for those of you who may one day die. Yes, this means you. These end-of-life lessons can be useful.

1) Spend the $50 per year to buy a $5,000 life insurance policy. Suck it up. This will pay for your burial. Your kids will thank you one day.

2) Don't change your will three times during the last year of your life. This confuses people, especially lawyers.

3) If you ignore the previous warning and still decide to change your will, try not to leave your assets to someone who is already dead. This further compounds the confusion, and is likely to lead to lengthy proceedings that will only result in further wealth for the lawyers. Lawyers love this stuff. They actually start salivating when they encounter a will that designates that all the stuff goes to a stiff. Everybody else hates it, though.

4) If you are going through serious illness, don't designate someone that your kids have never met as the person with ultimate authority to make all medical decisions. This leads to weird conversations such as:

"Should we take him off of life support?
"I don't know. We have to consult with Bobby."
"Who the hell is Bobby?"

5) Finally, if you earn money and/or spend money, try to keep some sort of coherent financial records that extend beyond writing cryptic notes such as "Pay Property Taxes" on the back of a discarded pizza box. If you have a checkbook, keep a record of the checks you write. Elementary addition and subtraction skills are also handy. Work on your organizational and mathematical skills now if you need to.

[1] We need a solution, we need salvation
Let's send some people to the moon and gather information
They brought back a big bag of rocks
Only cost 14 billion
Must be nice rocks
-- Larry Norman, "Reader's Digest"

5 comments:

scott said...

Is that whitman@hotmail.com, or whitmana@hotmail.com?

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Andy Whitman said...

Scott, it's whitmana (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Julana said...

Grace to you.
And peace.

gb said...

Andy,

So... poignant. I think I understand.

Thank you,
Gary

Natsthename said...

1) Spend the $50 per year to buy a $5,000 life insurance policy. Suck it up. This will pay for your burial. Your kids will thank you one day. Amen, brother. I have experience with that one.

That's some good advice you've shelled out. Now, only if people would follow it!