You Gotta Keep Goin’

OK, so I know that isn’t grammatically correct, but it did get your attention, didn’t it?

We completed our series of blogs on funeral planning, which you may have found interesting, boring or depressing.  My goal was not to put you into more of the funk that we have been experiencing, but to provide some tips that you find helpful. 

We have all experienced the most challenging of times for most of us.  Yes, there are people who were born when the world experienced the Spanish flu a hundred years ago, but they most likely don’t remember it.  But, stop and think of what we have experienced with technology available to us versus what life must have been like without technology.  Hard to imagine, isn’t it? 

Well, we must be thankful to be where we are today and to want to make the most of life.  We have to appreciate what life has to offer and deal with the challenges we are presented with.  If we allow ourselves to get caught up in doom and gloom, we aren’t living to our fullest potential.  Life is short – let’s make the most of it. 

Estate planning is a topic that can cause us to think about our mortality.  And, why should you think about such a morbid topic?  Well, the answer is to free you.  You can derive psychological satisfaction from the exercise.  It can provide you with the peace of mind with regard to the inevitable physical event when it occurs — knowing that we have planned for that moment, to benefit our loved ones or favorite charities, by addressing and planning for the tensions that may be within the family, to help you become more financially secure, to enjoy life and to possibly save taxes. 

You may not think that there is anything to be had in a psychological sense from estate planning and being able to live when you are planning for the inevitable.  But, it really can be an emotional and uplifting experience – just having your affairs in order and not have them constantly nagging on your mind.  Estate planning puts you in control.  It gives you the peace of mind that you know you have done as much for those you love as you possibly can and leaving that legacy is, in essence, a self-survival beyond death.  And that, in and of itself, can be satisfying and calming. 

Ask yourself if you are depleting your energy by worrying about death and the consequences, or if you are really able to enjoy life to its fullest because you aren’t worrying.  Don’t regret getting to the end of your life without really having lived. 

Do something to help yourself and talk to an estate planner.  Perhaps you already have estate planning in place.  If your planning is more than a couple of years old, you may need to update your planning.  Things change, people change, life changes.  You should make certain that your planning meets your needs TODAY, not yesterday.  If you have never completed the estate planning process, you should think about it.  Trust me, it isn’t painful.  Yes, you may need to take a hard look at some things that you may have been pushing off to the sidelines.  But, in the end, it will be a freeing feeling to know that you have done what was needed. 

A good estate planner will ask you a lot of questions.  Don’t be intimidated.  In order for them to do the best planning on your behalf, they need to see the full picture, not just a corner or small piece.  If the planner doesn’t ask a lot of questions, you may need to find one who does.  Don’t feel that they are nosey. They are looking for information on how to best help you.  And, who knows, when they hear of a situation you may be experiencing, they may even have some suggestions on how to deal with that exact situation that has been draining you of energy! 

After all, you gotta keep goin’!

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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