Doctors tell terminally ill patients to get their affairs in order. What does this phrase mean? Should you wait for a doctor to tell you to do it? What does it entail? All of these questions and more are answered in this article.
What does get your affairs in order mean?
The phrase “get your affairs in order” is often used to describe getting one’s life in order, especially in preparation for death. The origins of the phrase are uncertain, but it is thought to be derived from the Latin phrase “agere rerum,” which means “to do business.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase first appeared in print in 1809 in a book about business accounting. The author, John Jones, advises his readers to “get their affairs in order” before entering into any business transactions.
Another theory of the origins of getting your affairs in order comes from the medieval practice of drawing up a will before going on a pilgrimage. This was seen as ensuring that one’s affairs would be in order in case of death during the journey.
Some believe the phrase originated during the Plague, when people were advised to get their affairs in order in case they became infected and died.
Over time, the phrase came to more broadly describe the process of organizing one’s life, practically and emotionally. In recent years, the phrase has become associated with death and dying, as terminally ill people often use it to describe their preparations for the end of their lives. Regardless of its connotations, the phrase “get your affairs in order” remains a valuable way to describe the process of taking care of one’s practical and emotional needs.
Whether facing a significant life change or simply trying to tidy up your affairs, taking some time to get your affairs in order can help you move forward confidently.
How do you get your affairs in order?
Start by compiling a list of all your assets, including your bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, personal property, and debts. Next, include essential documents like your will, power of attorney, and healthcare directive. Then make a list of the important people in your life, including family, friends, doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, etc. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information for all these people. Finally, if you went on vacation today, what would need to be taken care of while you’re gone? Do you have a pet, plants, or anything else that needs care? If so, include you need to plan for those items as well.
What do you do once all this information is organized?
Getting your affairs in order involves more than organizing information. It would be best if you also thought through who gets your information and cares for your possessions when you aren’t available. Your incapacitation could be temporary or permanent.
It’s a good idea to appoint someone you trust as your power of attorney, so they can manage your affairs if you cannot do so yourself. It would be best if you also had a medical power of attorney who will be a person who makes decisions on your healthcare. These can be the same person, but they could also be two different people.
It would be best if you thought about who will need your information and how to distribute your possessions. For example, you may want to leave everything to your spouse or children, or you may want to set up a trust to provide for your loved ones after you’re gone.
Leaving everything to your spouse may work out, but keep in mind whatever incapacitated you might have also incapacitated your spouse. They are frequently with you and usually of similar age. You also need to ensure you have secondary beneficiaries if they aren’t available.
Lastly, it is best to revisit these wishes regularly as they may change and need to be updated.
The importance of an attorney when getting your affairs in order
Many people do not realize the importance of having an attorney when getting your affairs in order. An attorney can help you ensure that all your documents are in order and that your wishes are carried out according to your wishes.
Without an attorney, you may leave your loved ones with a complicated mess to sort out. In addition, an attorney can help you to avoid potential legal issues that could arise in the future. For example, if you have a will, an attorney can help ensure it is properly executed.
If you do not have a will, an attorney can help you to create one. In short, an attorney can be a valuable asset in getting your affairs in order.
Why get your affairs in order?
An essential part of being an adult is demonstrating you can take personal responsibility. Getting your affairs in order can be a daunting task, but it’s crucial to do in case something happens to you.
If you have a will and other legal documents, such as a power of attorney, your loved ones will know your wishes and can carry them out without having to guess. Additionally, suppose you have insurance policies and investments. In that case, it will be much easier for your family to handle your finances if everything is organized and they know where to find everything.
Getting your affairs in order may not be the most fun task, but it’s an integral part of being a responsible adult.