I had the chance to sit down with my Godmother a few weeks ago while in New England (my parents died several decades ago) and it wasn’t long before the subject of death came up (My Godmother tuned 85 last week). “Do you have a will,” she asked? It turns out, I do, but she confided in me that even her own two daughters don’t. They are not alone. The vast majority of Americans don’t, leaving the potential heirs and caregivers, but more likely the probate courts, to untangle the mess. The end result leaves everybody unhappy, angry and more stressed. Americans have a very sanitized exposure to death. Think about it! Death, they feel is very stressful, so they avoid nearly all aspects of it, particularly estate planning, wills and trusts. Avoidance, as we all know, can come back to bit us in the but. Ouch! While we cannot all have a graceful exit from this earthly existence, we can help give some peace of mind to our loved ones right after we depart by taking care of some details and putting our affairs in order. Start with a will/trust and living will (end of life care). Make everyday a good day to die by making everyday a good day to live.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Make a strategy this week to find a good estate/ trust lawyer and get things down on paper—legally. Often the cost is minimal (around $200). If you don’t do this, much of what you own may never get to the people you intended,instead, going to the state in which you live. If you have a will, be sure that those closest to you know where it is or have an extra copy. How does the expression go: Death comes like a thief in the night? Be sure to include information about end of life care (do you want to be on life support for years or die naturally?) Finally, as hard as it may be, bring these issues up with your loved ones (and the holidays might be the best time, if nothing else, it will certainly get everyone’s attention). Don’t be afraid of death, Stare it in the face (with a lawyer) and come out smiling…
Links, Books and Movies worth Noting:
There are many online services for last wills and trusts. Check them out thoroughly… seek the advice of people in the know. Not all states validate online wills, so do your homework.
Quote for the Day:
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” — Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
My Godmother, Pat O’Connor, who at age 85 is one of the most wonderful people I know. Very loving, great sense of humor and a beautiful soul. Thanks, Pat!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.