I was sad when I learned of the passing of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. But what saddened me even more was when I learned she passed without a will. What is it with people who continue to pass on and don’t take the time to handle their business and secure the legacy of their family by obtaining a will or Living Trust? What baffles me even more is when people work very hard during their lifetime to amass fortunes or establish entities that will provide financial security for their loved ones long after they are gone, and yet they don’t make the necessary arrangements while they are alive. This is true whether it is someone as famous as Aretha Franklin, Prince, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Howard Hughes or as simple as the young family who recently had children and purchased their first home. We all need to put in place a will or Living Trust.
According to a Gallup Poll, less than half of Americans have a will and the ones that do tend to be over the age of 65. When someone dies without a will, it goes into what is known as “intestate” which means a family (or others) becomes susceptible to the mercy of the State. Although I tend to write more about other issues pertaining to the subject of forgiveness or around the welfare of helping girls, another part of my message is around understanding the importance of legacy. Legacy can be positive or negative and it all depends on what we do while we are alive. It is time for us to stop making excuses as well as stop procrastinating. I am a firm believer that we should leave the next generation a little better off than how we started. Today can be the day you start a positive legacy for your family and future generations.
Because of the way I was raised by my grandmother, and the fact that she was a stickler for taking care of business and making sure her affairs were in order, when I first got married, one of the first things I did was make sure I scheduled an appointment to discuss our will and final arrangements. My husband at the time didn’t share my enthusiasm. In hindsight, maybe that was moving a little too fast being a twenty-something newlywed, but the point is still the same. We need to make sure we handle the business of making sure our affairs are in order sooner than later. None of us know the day or hour when we will be called home.
If you don’t, there’s no guarantee that all of the hard work you’ve done all your life will really benefit the ones you love; no matter your age.
When I’ve talked to people about it, they say they don’t know how or where to begin. If you really feel you don’t have much to insure or can’t pay an attorney, you can do what is called the “poor man’s will” and write your affairs in a document, have it notarized and then seal it and mail it to yourself. Don’t open it. Put it away in a safe place with any of your important documents. If you are able to go a step further then contact either a lawyer or a company that specializes in helping people set up a will or Living Trust. Although you will be gone and not even know how people will react, at least while you are alive you can feel at peace knowing you’ve taken care of your family. Even after you are gone, your legacy will live on – hopefully for generations to come.
Healing Without Hate: It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!
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