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Dad as a Doornail

Mar 08, 2023 05:00AM ● By Matthew Jones

Having kids makes you consider your own mortality in a different light. Now if you were to keel over, there are these little people that depend on you that would be left high and dry. You may not realize it until you do some research, but there are actually multiple important things you can do now so your family has it easier if you bite it. It’s morbid, sure, but it’s pretty foolish to not give some thought to it. Here are some key items you may want to take care of.

Get Life Insurance

A thrill-fest life insurance shopping is not. But it’s actually pretty important. If you kick the bucket, this is a good way to cover your expenses and give your family some financial runway to get used to life without you. I have some life insurance through my employer, but also have a policy through a separate investment firm. As I understand it, it’s a fee every month in exchange for a potential big payout. With the policy I have, there’s also something in there about the money being invested and being available earlier But I admit I space out after a sentence or two of anyone trying to explain it to me. I just understand it as some cash for my kids in case I beef it.

Write a Will

I haven’t done this yet, as I’m still relatively young, but it’s a good idea to get around to it. It makes life easier for your remaining family, and lets them avoid some legal red tape if your wishes are made clear in your will. My father-in-law recently passed away, and his will made things MUCH easier to handle than it would otherwise have been. Plus you can always mess with your family by leaving a three grand to the all-women’s yodeling choir of Seattle. Keep ‘em guessing!

Figure Out Who’ll Look After Your Children

If you and your partner both die in a freak frozen-yogurt-related explosion, you’ll want to know that your kids will have a definite place to go. This can be a sibling, or a cousin, or some friends or whomever. Someone you trust and you can be reasonably sure won’t immediately turn around and sell your kids for booze money. We have my brother and some family friends as godparents for my elder and younger kids, respectively. Though you hopefully won't need to worry about dying until your kids are all grown, this does help me sleep a little easier.

Get Your Investments in Order

If you have your money in a few centralized spots that are well-recorded, it will be easy for your loved ones to get ahold of the money after you kick the bucket. My dad’s father had dozens of investments scattered everywhere, and after he passed, my dad had to spend months digging through papers and tracking down money. That wad of cash socked away under your floorboard? You’ll make some lucky future contractor very happy, but your kids won’t see a dime of it.

Talk to Your Family About It

Let them know that you’re doing these things to provide for them. And let them know how you want to be taken care of if you die suddenly or get too sick to make decisions. And heck, tell someone how you want to be taken care of after you croak. Want a big open-casket funeral? Sure. You want your ashes scattered at your favorite pizza place? Fine. Want to get your body stuffed with candy and go for the record for world’s worst piñata? Go for it. Just make sure you tell someone. Even better, write it down somewhere official.

Something else that you don’t really think about is giving your input now on how your life will be celebrated. I was talking to my wife the other night, and in light of her father’s recent passing, we got on the topic of funerals. She had some clear ideas about what she would want at her funeral (for example, someone singing “My Heart Will Go On.” to celebrate her love of both music and the movie "Titanic"). I had never really thought about it, beyond being a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be around to hear everyone say how great I was. But I realized that I did know what I wanted—I would want people to laugh and celebrate my life. And my next realization was the perfect way to do that—present all my mourners with a final gift, in my favorite format: the Dad Joke.

My Dad Joke Self-Eulogy

  • Please, no smoking at this funeral. We don’t want any more coffin.
  • Bury me in some old, worn-down shoes. It’s fitting because both of our soles have departed.
  • I’m excited about my funeral. I’ve been dying to see who shows up!
  • Who takes your soul if you die while exercising? The Gym Reaper.
  • I always wanted to be dead sexy. Hey, at least I got halfway there.
  • I hope these jokes don’t em-bomb.
  • How is your salary like my ashes? Both are something you urn.
  • I considered becoming an organ donor, but I didn’t have the stomach for it. My heart wasn’t in it. I just didn’t have the guts.
  • I bought a vacuum cleaner with teeth last week. We have a lot in common because we both recently bit the dust.
  • What’s the best way to brew beer for a funeral? Cask it.
  • I’m like a table seating 3 people: I’m six feet under.
  • And finally, to my strong, beautiful, wonderful children. You will go on without me. It will be hard sometimes. But even in the darkest nights, when you need me the most, and wish that you could just reach out and hold my hand one more time, I’ll be there with you. When you cry out, “I’m lost without you,” just know that I’ll be with you in spirit. I’ll be squeezing your hand right back, and I’ll be telling you with all the love in the world, “Hi, 'Lost without you', I'm Dad.”
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