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“A Shocking Death, a Financial Lesson and Help for Others”



Chanel Reynolds with her stepdaughter Lyric, 16, and son Gabriel, 9. Her husband, their father, died in 2009.

The title of the New York News story is “A Shocking Death, a Financial Lesson and Help for Others.”

The story tells about Chanel Reynolds’ husband who was struck by a van while he rode his bicycle near Bellevue. (by the way, Chanel has created a Web site named Get Your Shit Together!.)

… the buzz in her brain came from a growing list of financial tasks that grown-ups are supposed to have finished by the time they approach middle age. And she and her husband, José Hernando, had not finished them.

Chanel added that she was “… finding it really hard … to stay present and in the room.”

Chanel also said that she found it difficult to listen to what the physicians told her because she was very worried about her family’s finances. She was not certain how much money the family had in their checking account.

“The result is a Web site named for the scolding, profane exhortation that her inner voice shouted during those dark days in the intensive care unit,” she added.

Chanel said that she and her husband had had their wills drafted but that the wills weren’t signed. “I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to float a family by myself.”

At the top of her site, Chanel writes:

There are a few simple things I wish I had taken care of before my life went sideways, like a will, living will, and some details jotted down. Should the ground fall out from under your feet—plan now for a softer landing. In fact, it’s easy to finish the planning and basic papers your life needs.

In 2009 my husband was killed in an accident. In the following hours, weeks, and months I was shocked by the number of things we had left disorganized or ignored. Critical documents you can spend a fraction of the time doing now. Here are those core items, streamlined.

Get your shit together now and breathe a huge sigh of relief. You can do it.

By the way, on the right side of her blog, Get Your Shit Together!, Chanel has added information on Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, as well as many other details, all of which you can download.

Chanel has provided a spot at the bottom of her site where you can sign up.

“First, the world of personal finance suffers from an odd sort of organizational failure,” the NYT added. People tend to organize their thinking about products such as retirement accounts, mortgages, long-term care insurance, as well as “retirement accounts, mortgages, long-term care insurance.”

A major life event can affect our lives. “But there are few ready-made tool kits like the one Ms. Reynolds has assembled for people considering the possibility of serious illness or death,” the NYT added.

The other thing that compelled me to sprint here right after I stumbled across her site Tuesday night was that it is not neutered, stripped of the mess of feelings that govern much of what we do with our money. Sometimes, we just need to meet, as noted in The York Times.”

Chanel provides information such as the following:

Get started: Your checklist.

Here is your starting place. The “Get Your Shit Together Checklist” is a handy summary of the key documents and tasks covered on this site.

Chanel suggests that her visitors’ begin at the checklist so that they can track their progress. Chanel adds, “Start here and use it to track your progress as you get your shit together. Take it from the top, and check off as you go.”

  • Escoffier

    Getting your $(!^ together requires a degree of maturity and foresight that some are incapable of doing. I had my first life threatening illness at age 47 with a 19 year old in college, 17 and 12 year old at home and a wife that refused to even consider that I might not survive. While in chemo and radiation she pretended I was not ill. My brother and hers were brought on board as potential executors and into the estate planning. Because she is incapable of making these types of decisions I make them. After my death our children will make them. They have been taught by me what to do. She has been told this, refuses to listen, and will have to live with it. It is the responsible thing to do and in all other ways she is an excellent and decent person. Getting your $(!^ together involves recognizing the limitations of the people you love.

  • MG6
  • Robin H

    We’ve got all our ducks in a row. We have wills, guardians, power of attorney’s for each other and life insurance for each other. We were so fortunate to learn early on in our lives how to figure out how much insurance you need. I’m a stay at home mom but we still had life insurance on me for the cook and housekeeper he’d have to hire if I died. Now that the kids are both in high school it’s only a taxi driver they’d need full-time, so we could probably cut back on my like insurance. :)
    It’s shocking how financially illiterate many are in this country.

  • foxyladi14

    Excellent advice.

  • Dave L.

    I had a babysitter once that lost her husband in a car accident. When My wife and I went to see her, she was sitting on her porch like a deer in the headlights. She had no idea of what her financial condition was, her husband handled everything. Problem was he was the head of a large financial institution and took care of everyone elses finances and ignored his own family. This woman and her 3 kids lost their home and moved in with her family, since no future plans had ever been put in place or even discussed. This is something that needs to be addressed by all, NOW, TODAY !!!

  • DianaLC

    My living family trust was updated last year, as was my partner’s will. Each year, I go through things with my two sons.
    My father, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, had done the same for my siblings and me. There is no greater gift a parent can give than to have everything organized.
    I think of the daughters of a man I know who did nothing but leave his matters in a mess, while he decided to live his last few years as if he were a love-struck teenager after their mother died and he took up with a women who had met him online after losing the other sugar daddy she had met on line.
    The girls are still having to deal with the mess years later.
    It’s not a hard thing to do, especially if you’re like me and are not in the upper percent. I’m not one of the 47 percent, but not even close to the ones O seems to hate so much.