Category Archives: final will and testament

Let’s Talk Turkey—and I Don’t Mean “Who Wants a Drumstick?”

turkey-drawing-by-ben-hider

November 20, 2016   Bethesda, Maryland

Last year, 87 million Americans drove over fifty miles in a frenzied attempt to connect with relatives and friends for Thanksgiving. Will you be on the road next week? What are your motives? Will it be worth it?

The expression, Let’s talk turkey, refers to ‘having a focus, getting down to business.’ Will you commit to making your holiday visit more productive? It’s an ideal intergenerational time to talk about end-of-life wishes, hear and discuss each other’s opinions. If you’re thinking: ‘Easier said than done…’ watch these three short YouTube interviews with Ellen Goodman, co-Founder (2012) of The Conversation Project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbWcLYOniWU

www.youtube.com/watch?v=09w3Lv9QiR4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inATwqe4iX0

I have another trick up my sleeve—a Guest Blog post from Susan Soper, creator of ObitKit. You read it correctly: ObitKit. Using Susan’s guidelines, ask your family to help write your obituary. Before you read her Guest Blog, take a quick romp through her website www.obitkit.com

How-to Make It Through the Holidays  

Susan Soper

As the holidays are approaching, perhaps you will be experiencing a number of heartbreaking firsts this year:

“First Thanksgiving”: a special someone is missing from the table.

“First Christmas and Hanukkah in December”: you’re flooded with the spirit of loving and giving—and now, cherished memories from the past.

“First New Year”: you wonder: A whole year? How am I going to do this alone? Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days, vacations, graduations, weddings, new births…you get the idea! It’s a daunting prospect. A loved one has died, but that doesn’t mean the memories of them do, too.

Our solution for enduring these rituals? We can keep their spirit alive with new traditions:

  • hang their stockings on the fireplace
  • use their most raved about recipes in our holiday meals
  • include their beloved ornaments or flowers in the centerpiece
  • listen to music they loved
  • attend their regular religious services and community programs.

Talking about them keeps their spirit, memory, and legacies alive. You can almost feel their presence as you recall top achievements, beloved stories, even missed opportunities—quirks, habits, oft-quoted sayings.

What about when it’s your turn to be missing at the table? How would you like that conversation to go? While you’re healthy, provide the leadership and guidance to discuss your final wishes. It’s the best gift! This avoids the guesswork and critical decision making during a heartbreaking, grieving time. State your exact wishes about how you’d like to be remembered and celebrated verbally and in writing. They’ll be relieved to know your final wishes and be able to honor them.

 Susan Soper is the author and founder of ObitKit: Live. Love. Laugh. Cry. Write it down! a workbook to help other families avoid the guesswork and last-minute decisions at the most heartbreaking time.   www.obitkit.com

 

 

 

 

 

True Confessions: I AM a “NAGGER” *

Elizabeth Hurlow-Hannah is nothing less than ONE BIG NAG and I will be indebted to her for being such for the rest of my life.

The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth has been a very good and close friend of my wife and me for almost twenty years now. But in the last several years, she has been reminding me that I should put my will, health advance directive and other end-of-life papers in order.  When she became aware that I was procrastinating on getting this matter accomplished, she became a bit more forceful in reminding me how important this matter is. To get this dear friend off my back, my wife and I went to an elder-law attorney about a year ago and had the appropriate papers drawn up. We both indicated in our advance health directives that we wanted no extraordinary resuscitation measures to be taken in case of a health crisis, including feeding tubes. Continue reading

Funeral and Burial Plot Medicaid Exemptions

When the sun is about to set and the death of a loved one is imminent, proper planning is crucial. In most instances, it is a good idea to begin planning well in advance so that all expenses at the end will be covered and will not fall on the survivors. With our many years of experience as Medicaid planning consultants, we at Senior Planning Services would like to educate our readers on the common pitfalls to avoid in managing one’s assets for Medicaid eligibility and funeral and burial plot expenses. Continue reading

A Logical, Loving Exit Strategy—in Ten Easy Steps

Last summer I hired a woman-owned firm* to cut our grass. A chance conversation about my work on end of life issues opened a flood gate of gratitude to her mother. Astounded, my reaction was “Wow! Your mom sounds like The Poster Child for planning ahead. Please write this story for my website!” Continue reading