I don’t have a death wish, I have death wishes, a will. I know, I know, I know; maybe not the topic you were expecting let alone one you want to discuss. To quote DMX, Y’all Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind. OK, I will focus. When I read DMX had the heart attack and was on life support, while there were pleas for hopes and prayers, my on the spectrum brain immediately went to, he his brain dead, they are waiting for next of kin or the durable power of attorney for health care to make the call.
In the case of DMX, it was his mother to make the final call. Not his ex-wife, not his fiancé, not one of his 15 children, but his mother. The mother that physically abused him with her boyfriends and knocked out his teeth. Abuse so bad he would wonder the streets at 14 to avoid physical harm. Legally, durable power of attorney for health care, it was his mother to make the call. Fortunately, DMX and his mother reconciled 9 years ago when DMX was 41. Makes you think; who makes the call for you? Is it the person you want, the person you assume, or is that all misguided and the law takes over? Only a third of Americans have an advanced directive, yet 100% of them will die.
Prince died April 21, 2016 five years ago. Prince died without a will and his estate is estimated to be worth over 200 million and 5 years later it is still not settled. The battle of Jimi Hendrix’s estate went on for over 30 years. Abraham Lincoln did not have a will. Neither did Sony Bono, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., Kurt Cobain, Tony Hsieh and on and on. OK, I got it, people don’t plan to die. 68%1of Americans do not have a will and that’s a problem. You are dead whatever you have goes into probate. All accounts are frozen. This is where the tax liabilities accumulate, property is lost a myriad of legal twist and turns take over. Most people have a story or have heard stories of the mayhem that ensues. Don’t do this to your love ones. I’ve heard the rational, I’m going to get to it. To which I respond, so you know the exact date and time of your death that allows you the luxury of last-minute planning?
We don’t when we will die or be in a life support situation. Be kind to your loved ones and have your durable power of attorney for health care and a will. Look, you’re required to have insurance to drive in case you have an accident. You may never need it, yet there is no requirement to have a will and you will die. This week, if you don’t have a will or a durable power of attorney for health care, please consider getting one in place.
1Please don’t rationalize this as economics. We are not a poor country. The US poverty rate is less than 10%. 78% of Americans between 25 and 41 do not have wills.