Many items within a household can affect the overall value of the estate. These items include art, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, musical instruments, and the house itself. Appraisals provide a snapshot in time of each item’s value. This helps estate planning attorneys to accurately structure equitable distribution of assets as dictated by the client. Appraising Art There are many forms of art: paintings made with watercolors, oil, acrylic, and mixed media; prints made by lithograph, … [Read more...] about Appraisals and Planning
Estate planning enables someone with Power of Attorney to take over financial management for someone who can’t do the job anymore. Post-death, the executor handles this job for the estate. In real life, managing someone else’s finances is incredibly complicated. My parents, currently ages 88 and 89, split their time between residences in Florida and New Mexico. They summer in New Mexico, where they can be close to their two eldest children, one of whom is me, the only daughter. I’m also the … [Read more...] about Estate Planning in Real Life: Financial Management
Ask people what they want at end-of-life and most will say they want to live long healthy lives and die in their sleep. Very few want to stretch out their final days in the hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) tethered to machines. Unless we plan ahead and speak up, we may not get what we want when it comes to end-of-life issues. Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End by Barbara Coombs Lee is a great guide book to help people navigate the rocky shoals of end-of-life. It … [Read more...] about Book Review: Finish Strong Provides Guidance for End-of-Life Planning
Do you find Lunch and Learn community outreach events to be effective lead generators for estate planning clients? By making your Lunch and Learn part of a Before I Die festival, you can reach even more new clients. Before I Die festivals offer a range of activities to get people to think about, talk about, and do something about our 100% mortality rate. Festivals may take place over several days all around town, or as a concentrated one- or two-day event. Activities may include Death Café … [Read more...] about Going Beyond Lunch and Learn Community Outreach Events
As estate planning attorneys, you know how hard it can be to get people to discuss and plan ahead for end-of-life issues. Less than 30% of adults do any end-of-life planning, such as wills and trusts, advance medical directive and preneed funeral planning (and that’s being generous). But the Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers is getting ready to crash on the shore of mortality, as 10,000 people turn 65 every single day. This will continue for the next 15 years. And these people want to talk about … [Read more...] about Do You Know About These Death Discussion Movements?
Every adult in the English-speaking world needs to read, and use, Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan by Jane Duncan Rogers. It’s a practical, comprehensive, upbeat guide to just about everything that needs to be addressed before you die. Like many of today’s death educators, Jane Duncan Rogers came to the field because of a death in the family. Her husband Philip died in 2011, after a year of living with stomach cancer. Together they tackled answering a long … [Read more...] about “Before I Go” Book Review
What is an Ethical Will? In days of yore, people prepared a Last Will and Testament. The Will addressed the distribution of property and assets of the deceased. The Ethical Will was the Testament portion of this important end-of-life planning document. An Ethical Will enables us to speak words of truth before the end of our days on earth. We can share what life lessons we’ve learned in this lifetime. We can pass along our values and wisdom to our loved ones and to the world. Here’s a … [Read more...] about How You Can Write an Ethical Will
Planning a funeral right after a family member dies is probably the last thing you want to do. But by putting some plans and information on file with a funeral home, you can make it so much easier on your surviving loved ones. While conducting research before writing A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, my husband and I met with a funeral home to preplan for my father-in-law, Norman. Norm had undergone three open-heart surgeries during his lifetime. After the … [Read more...] about Why Should You Plan Your Own Funeral?
Estate planning attorneys recognize that most people are not eager to discuss end-of-life issues. The remarkable worldwide rise of death discussion movements over the past decade can help get the conversation started. Here’s an overview of the most popular movements, in order of when they were started in the United Kingdom or the United States. Dying Matters 2009 In 2009, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) set up the Dying Matters Coalition to promote public awareness of … [Read more...] about A Short History of Death Discussion Movements
Just like the cobbler’s children go without shoes, too many estate planning attorneys don’t follow their own advice to clients. I’ve heard way too many stories of attorneys who drop dead without having a valid will in place, or their paperwork is way out of date. Are you in that group? In 2017, my husband and I updated our wills. We first drew up our wills when we got married in 2000. When our executor moved out of state, we knew it was time to name someone else. Waiting 17 years is much … [Read more...] about It Won’t Kill You to Make Your Funeral and Estate Plans
When less than 25% of adults do any end-of-life planning, including wills and trusts, advance medical directives and pre-need funeral planning, how can estate planning attorneys help increase the percentage of those who plan ahead? People want to know about estate planning issues. However, just as many loathe to visit a funeral home to plan ahead, many hesitate to visit an estate planning attorney. Here are three outside-the-box ideas to help break down resistance to discussing these serious … [Read more...] about Three Event Ideas to Help Families Discuss Death and Estate Planning
We live in an era when sadness is avoided at great cost to our emotional psyches. Funerals are now celebrations of life. Even though death and loss breaks hearts, many people strive to stay positive and upbeat. “Must not cry” is the unconscious mantra of many grievers – and it’s harmful. In “The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage,” a TEDWomen 2017 talk by psychologist Susan David, she explains why it’s good to embrace so-called “negative” feelings, saying: “In a survey I recently conducted … [Read more...] about Can You Actually Benefit from Experiencing Sadness?