30 August 2010

April 2010 Newsletter

Facing the Inevitable

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

T.S. Eliot introduced this classic poem, "The Waste Land," with a reference to Sibyl who, when asked what she wanted, replied that she wished to die. You see, Apollo had granted her eternal life, but she had forgotten to ask for eternal youth, too.

I think of this poem every April, when the earth is readying itself to be reborn from winter's darkness. This is also the time of year my mother died -- goodness, it's been ten years ago already!

When my mom passed, I discovered the importance of an organized estate. Even though she had written her will, showed us which file cabinet held all the crucial papers, and discussed her wishes with us before she passed, my mother’s estate was full of surprises, including discovering her best jewelry hidden in a box labeled "Old Sheets."

I realize that most people probably don't want to think about the inevitable day they meet their mortality. But preparing ahead has its benefits, including:

• Peace of mind from knowing everything is in order
• Renewed awareness of what your assets are
• Opportunity to review and update information, beneficiaries, and instructions
• Smoother transfer of information and responsibility for assets
• Fewer expenses – administrative, legal, and accounting
• Fewer taxes
• No search and discover fees
• Less stress
• Less bureaucracy
• Increased efficiency in handling the estate proceedings
• More money and assets retained by your heirs

Of course, we all probably think of taxes come April, too. As good ole' Ben Franklin is famous for stating, only two things are certain: death and taxes. And in some odd way, they do go together. So, now that your taxes are (almost) done, I encourage you to get the rest of your financial matters in order. As always, I am happy to help if you find you need assistance.

With your taxes done and your estate in order, you can close two doors behind you on winter's darkness as you emerge into the joy we know as Spring.

Tip of the Month

Is your will up to date? How about your Advanced Health Care Directive? For the month of April, I’m offering my comprehensive checklist for organizing your estate for free. Send me an email requesting the checklist before April 30, 2010, and I’ll email the e-booklet (which usually retails for $6.95) to you at no charge. You may also want to check out my colleague Maggie Watson's excellent workbook, "A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order" (ISBN 978-1879384-68-2).

Quotes of the Month

"What is life, but one long risk?" – Dorthy Canfield Fisher

"If each own sweeps before his own door, the whole street is clean." – Yiddish Proverb

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