My father passed away 8 years back after battling cancer for almost two years. He was in Kerala at that time. We knew he would go one day, but we hadn’t expected it to be all so sudden. Summer heat had just begun. MBA viva exams were going on at Symbiosis. I was doing the program having taken study leave for two years from the Army. Kids final exams were in progress. My wife and I had planned to be in Kerala soon, for the summer vacations. But, sixth sense or Gods blessings, I don’t know as yet, I just left the day the viva ended, as I wanted to spend some time with my Vappa. So there I was with him as he breathed his last, a few days after my arrival. One of my biggest loss in life that I am yet to come to terms with.
The funeral got over, my mother was sad, still recovering from the blow. As the eldest sibling, I had the responsibility to ensure everything was in order and the transition was smooth. I went to Vappa’s room on the second day. Opened his table drawers and to my surprise, I found many envelopes. They were all marked. Each envelope contained the original and a spare copy of whatever I would need. Documents ranging from his Voter ID, Pension Papers, LIC policy, House tax receipts, Passport copy, his photographs, joint photographs with my mom, Bank accounts and passbooks, all land assets duly written down. I couldn’t fathom when he had compiled all that as he was bed ridden for the last 3 months. He might have done this much earlier. My dad was an extremely organised person.
Thanks to his diligence, I had all the necessary papers. I marched to the hospital, got a letter declaring his death, went to the Village Office, got the Death Certificate, and then went to the banks, submitted the application to close or transfer the account to my mother’s name. Got a Legal Heirship certificate from the Taluk Office, and went to the Pension Disbursing office and got the family pension organised. Within a month, in record time, my mother started getting her family pension. His colleagues were surprised at the speed with which I was getting things organised. When they looked at me I had only one thing to say to them – I HAD ALL THE PAPERS. In fact my Vappa had helped me even after his death. Whatever the Govt authorities required from me, I had them. I carried my laptop, typed the letters, applications on the spot, got them printed outside and submitted it within 30 minutes of their asking me to submit something. Of course my Dad’s blessings and God’s help was always there.
Few months passed, back in the Army, a colleague of mine rushed home when he was informed of his Dad’s demise. He returned sad after a month and narrated the story of how difficult it was for him to trace the bank accounts, LIC payments, other papers, pension documents etc. It took him two years finally to sort out the issues so that his mother could rightfully get her dues. What a contrast it was! I looked up and thanked my Dad for his Due Diligence.
That brings me to the Question. Have you prepared for your loved ones Life after your Death? One day we all have to go. Our kids today are busy with their college/ school and they are too young to understand these complicated issues. Isn’t it your responsibility to leave something for them to work with? Here is what I would suggest you do.
Write down all that you want for them to know after you are gone. What will you write? Your Mobile screen lock access, Bank accounts, passwords, ATM Pins, Mutual Fund Log ins, vehicle papers, LIC policies, Fixed or Recurring Deposit details, Passport details, Voter ID, Aadhar ID, Property Papers, Domestic Gas papers, any Will, any dues to be received from the Government, Email ids and phone numbers of friends, logical Sequence of Action to be taken after the demise (for those in the Defence, there is a booklet on this). You can also see “When the Unthinkable Happens” in www.soldier2ndlife.com which covers in detail the actions to be taken in case of demise. You may take a look.
Write all these in a paper and keep it safe to be retrieved later. Keep copies of all the documents in that one folder. This is also called a Ghost File which we encourage Officers in the Armed Forces to prepare, for we never know when we would be draped in the Tricolour. Some ladies are not comfortable with this idea and resist, but shouldn’t you do your duty, so that they are not burdened later. If you are a lady, please know where the file is or encourage your spouse to share these info or just send him this blog.
For the Tech savvy guys, you may upload all of these in the cloud (Using Google Drive or Sky Drive or One Drive) and share the folder with your child and spouse by sending the link to their email id. Keep updating the online or offline folder once a year. So that it contains the latest information. It would help your family even after you are gone.
Instead of all this, you could have a good Friend who knows everything about you and who can step in when required. But you really need to have such a bosom friend, but there is always a possibility of that person may get the ticket earlier than you. What would you do then?
I have just made mine. Have you started your Ghost File as yet?
If not……. the time to start is NOW! Be there even when you aren’t there!