When Your Number is Up

General Udon Thani topics only!
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When Your Number is Up

Post by parrot » June 28, 2020, 9:15 pm

Things we don't always think about, but probably should:
Who has easy access to your vital information?
- next of kin phone numbers/addresses/email addresses
- financial account numbers (especially any outside of Thailand), account info (are accounts joint or with a named beneficiary?)
- insurance papers (especially if you have a whole life policy)
- wills (you really need one if you have assets outside of Thailand and especially if you don't have joint accounts or named beneficiaries)
- passport
- VA documentation of military disability, if any.
- DD214 for US military veterans
- PIN numbers for any accounts that only you have access to, but would like your survivors to have access to after you die
- Marriage certificate (if you don't have a valid marriage certificate, then your spouse isn't your spouse in the eyes of many)
- Social security number for you and any family members with them. If you wife has an ITIN number, be sure it's listed here.
- Save your spouse/family the stress of writing out your obit. At least list the things you think your spouse/family would like to have said at your funeral.....if you've cringed at the detailed history that's presented at many Thai funerals, now's your time to make it easy for your spouse. Some people don't want a fancy funeral or a eulogy.......let that be known beforehand if it's important to you.
- Pre-covid......if you have family members in your home country who think they'd want to come to your funeral.....be sure to talk with your family about this...before it's too late. I've seen funerals delayed for weeks so a long-lost child or sibling can make arrangements to obtain a passport and travel. Meanwhile, your family in Thailand has to postpone the funeral while in mourning. If you think someone in your home country would like to attend, consider having your spouse keep your cremating remains for a Mekong ceremony when they arrive. Post covid......someone could arrange a video to be shared.
- If you have finances tied up outside of Thailand, do your survivors have access to enough accessible cash to cover your funeral expenses and probably 6-12 months of living (time to settle your estate?), If not, who do you expect will cover these expenses?
- If you're thinking about taking care of all the above info tomorrow, consider that tomorrow may be too late. It's happened countless times just in Udon. Do you really want it to happen to your family?
- If you have important info locked away in your email account or on your computer.......someone needs your logon/password for these accounts. Consider giving a trusted individual half of your password and another trusted individual the other half.
- Keep all this info in a handy, easy-to-file file.....not scattered about. Be sure your spouse knows where the file is........or a trusted individual.
- If you have some valuables/cash stashed in a secret location in your home/bank, be sure someone knows how to access that location.
- If you're a US citizen and think your spouse/family might be eligible for social security benefits, it'd be wise to read up/ask how the program works. Don't assume that just because you are a US citizen eligible for SSA, your spouse/family will be too. The program is extremely complicated with a ton of ifs ands and buts.

There's a comprehensive list of important information that veterans.....or anyone.....should have prepared in case of the inevitable at http://www.udonvfw10249.org/casualty.html Do your family/friends a favor and fill it out and keep it in a location known to them. Update it periodically as information changes. If you, the holder of most all that information, don't care to take the time to put that information together for your family, do you expect someone to do it for you? Even under the best circumstances, spouses/families often have to wait for months before receiving any benefits. Under the worst circumstances where an outsider has to dig for this information, it could be years.....if ever.

Finally, if you're a US veteran, do yourself a favor and join the VFW, preferably Post 10249. We meet once a month for about an hour. No swillin', no smokin'. We often have veterans from Laos, Nongkai, Khonkaen, Sakon Nakon attend our meetings. There's no obligation to attend meetings, but obviously the more who attend, the better we can help each other. We'll often exchange the latest insights into things like immigration, survivor benefits, SSA, VA, or assisting some needy family/school. You can join for less then $50 for a year or about $300 for a lifetime membership (installment plan is available). If you're an eligible US veteran, it'll be the best money you spend if you care for your family.

Finally, this isn't a sales pitch for the VFW, as every expat can benefit from compiling the information necessary for your family's well-being. Every expat should compile that information......not tomorrow or next week. Most everyone of us is either retired or has plenty of time on our hands to do it now.

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