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The Best Time to Get Your Affairs in Order

May 25th, 2014 by judytalks

As a survivor, I know that having everything in place is essential to handling an estate. My husband died intestate, meaning that he didn’t have a will. He also did not have a living will, a do not resuscitate (DNR), or funeral and/or burial wishes. I still had children living at home, a part-time job I loved, but that paid little, and a multitude of both emotional and practical responsibilities to manage.
When I published my first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing, I began to spread the word about the importance of having legal and financial affairs in place. I gave seminars that explained the problems I had encountered and encouraged my audience to get their ducks in a row, so to speak. Frequently, those in attendance who had experienced loss confirmed this fact. I heard stories from widows who had expected they would have security, enough money to live on, and funds to cover inflation. Unfortunately, many had to make major changes, sell a house, and downsize their life style because they had neglected to take care of the inevitable.
The best time to get your affairs in order is now, if you haven’t already done so, and do it together. Everyone thinks it’s something that can be done later, but because my husband had no will, I had to go to probate court. My husband was 59 when he died and, though it is sobering, these things happen all too often. Your loved ones need time and energy to deal with the emotional upheaval of loss. Compromising that energy with the hassle of legal and financial issues adds a burden that can be avoided. A funeral director once told me that the legal and financial issues the family face are overwhelming, and cause an enormous amount of stress.
Talk to your family, your legal counsel and financial planner, and get the documents you need to make this situation as smooth as possible. Then put the papers in a safe, but easy to access place and relax. Enjoy life. It’s part of what we’re here for.
I wish you well,
Judy

For my resources, please go to www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

Have You Written Your Will Yet?

July 19th, 2012 by judytalks

When my husband died at the age of 59, he didn’t have a will. Like so many of us, he thought he had pleny of time for end-of-life concerns. I had to go to probate court because we had minor children at home, and, because there was no will, handling all the legal and financial paperwork was a nightmare. Soon after, I had a will made and I began journaling. My journal became my first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing.

Death education, end-of-life issues, and “grief talk” is unpleasant to most of us. But getting your affairs in order is a reasonable and considerate thing to do. Funeral directors have told me that the legal and financial paperwork is an overwhelming problem for most families and survivors. The shock and pain of loss is more than enough to handle. When the documents you need are nowhere to be found, it adds stress to already overburdened emotions.

Twenty-one years ago, when I became a widow, resources were scarce for the bereaved. Today there are books, articles, websites, and groups that are dedicated to helping with this difficult time. Those of us who are committed to the grieving community understand and offer comfort and support. Search the web, visit libraries and bookstores, and look up local groups. You and your loved ones have everything to gain from taking care of things – and them – now, so you can relax and feel confident that their mourning period will be devoted to personal and emotional needs, without the headaches of looking for papers.

My best wishes,
Judy

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