The stupidest mistake I have ever made

AND THERE WAS NO excuse for it.  I knew what was happening, but I put my business at risk, and I put my family at risk.  It had nothing to do with taking entrepreneurial chances; it was just reckless thoughtlessness.  It went against all the sensible advice that I give to my small enterprise clients.

I knew that I could die but I didn’t take advantage of that knowledge.  What would you do if you knew that you were at risk of imminent death?  Wouldn’t you put your house in order while you could?  Of course, you would.  Since you have fore-warning, you would make sure that when you are no longer there, things can run as if you had gone away on leave.

The grim reaper at the door

We get reminders to renew our TV and vehicle licence.  But we don’t get an email informing us that our time is just about up.  If we did, wouldn’t we make sure that that the people we trust know our important passwords?  Wouldn’t we make sure that that our loved ones are the beneficiaries of our life policies and that our wills are up to date?

The cardiac surgeon dutifully informed me that I might not survive the multiple-bypass operation.  What did I do then?  Well, If I didn’t come back, it wouldn’t be my problem; I would be in the other place.  But what of my work colleagues, my family.  How would they manage if I was gone?  What provision did I make to ensure that life wasn’t any more challenging for them than it need have been?

When I read my record of the events leading up to my op two years back, I am horrified to see that I didn’t do any of the things that I should have: I didn’t say my goodbyes to my family and friends, and I didn’t sort out the paperwork in the ‘injury time’ that God gave me.  How could I be so stupid and inconsiderate?

Maybe that’s what happens when we are faced with such alarming news, perhaps we sort of freeze.  If that is so, and we might not take advantage of that ‘extra time’, then we should get our house in order, just in case.

Where there’s a will …

First of all, if you die intestate, Netto Invest says “…if you do not draw up a will, on your death your assets may be distributed in a way that is different from what you would have chosen had you taken the opportunity to do so.”  The Government will “appoint an Executor to wind up your Estate. This could cause additional hardship for your family as he/she would be an outsider that does not know them or your personal circumstances.”

Then, how are you married?  In community of property, customary marriage, antenuptial contract with or without accrual?  You don’t want your surviving family to have to sort that out while they are grieving.

Frozen bank accounts

What happens to your personal, family or business bank accounts when you die?  Maximus Wealth Management explains that “The Administration of Estates Act determines that all bank accounts in the name of the deceased should be frozen and closed eventually”

incision vs

Have you made arrangements for expenses, like car repayments and staff salaries to be paid?

Who is the beneficiary of your insurance policies?  I knew of someone whose sole beneficiary was the wife that he had divorced thirty years earlier.

Don’t make the same stupid mistake that I made.  Get your affairs sorted while you are clear-headed and still have the time to do so.  You might not get another chance; tomorrow might never come.

Rick Ed

Mentor to small business owners and entrepreneurs


2018/07/23

CC BY-SA

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