End of Life Planning: The Importance of Being a Prepared Optimist January 17, 2014 • 2 Comments A week after my husband’s death, there was an embarrassing pause when my attorney asked about the individuals we had assigned in our Will to be in charge of our personal matters. There had been no contact with either of them for many years. Although the Will was in place, the details sadly reflected days gone past. Luckily, the basics were covered and, mercifully, one of us was here to administer things. Oh, those dreaded assumptions we make in life. I never fully embraced the idea that either of us might die when the children were young, so I did not really pay attention to the particulars of insurance or having a Will. Because my husband was an attorney, I thought we had matters properly handled. I can’t imagine the additional heartache that could have befallen us if these things had not been in place in 2010. I still don’t fully understand the intricacies of Probate, even attorneys have difficulty explaining it, but it is not a place you want your affairs to end up just because you never took the time to create a Will. I am amazed by the number of people who readily admit that they do not have a Will or any life insurance. Please bear in mind, I am no financial estate planning genius and I only have the benefit of hindsight now to realize how lucky I was to have both. Life does not always turn out the way we hoped or expected. At the very least, be a prepared optimist. There are simple measures that will provide a safety net, invisibly secured beneath you, should things fall apart. Here are three suggestions: Invest in a life insurance policy: We had a policy when we first got married and, when we went through some financial difficulties, it was the first thing we stopped paying. I didn’t see the importance then. I do now. Thankfully, a new policy was put in place a couple years later. I wish I had had more coverage, but the money made a world of difference and helped me transition through a difficult time. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it. People are often surprised that I collected life insurance in light of the suicide. Most policies have a three year clause from the inception of the policy. Execute your Will: Creating a Will is a declaration about the way you want your personal matters to be handled. Your money, your children, your health and — your death (although no one likes to discuss this part). Do not leave any of this to fate. For goodness sake, this is your life we are talking about. Do you really want some Judge you never met making decisions about your money or your children for you? Invest time with an Attorney: I never had any dealings with attorneys until my husband’s death, and then suddenly I had six of them working for me. Yes, six. I’m here to tell you there are wonderful attorneys out there who can help you structure the important matters in your life, or at the very least, help you understand complex legal concepts. In the past, I thought attorney’s were essentially the same. They are not. I was temporarily led astray by one who knew nothing about the area of law I needed help with and he neglected to tell me his lack of expertise. I found out the hard way. Attorney’s specialize, just like doctors. You wouldn’t want a podiatrist operating on your brain. Do your homework: make sure you find someone who specializes who can champion your cause. Don’t let fear or anxiety about these matters stop you. Better to face being uncomfortable now, while you have choices, than later, when you don’t. Have you made a declaration about the way you want things to be handled? I’d love to know what steps you’ve taken as a prepared optimist. -db Who is Dianna Bonny: Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.