Saturday, January 02, 2010

A New Year's Resolution

A New Year's Resolution
©2009 David Talbot

Every December, I make resolutions, all with good intentions, that nevertheless seem to get pushed into the background of mydaily life after the holidays have come and gone. Things like: I’m going to loose 10lbs this year, save a little more, travel more, etc. You’re probably familiar with this annual ritual.

This year is different. A member of my family is dying of cancer. The particulars are only important to the family. However, the current situation has caused me to make a new resolution this year. And I have already made good on my commitment.

I know, you probably expect me to say something like: I resolve to be kinder, laugh more, cry often, love deeply, say I’m sorry, worry less, enjoy life, and other things we see in countless emails throughout the year. While these are admirable suggestions, that’s not what I did.

When our relative got the diagnosis, we also learned there is no Will, no Advance Directives, no Health Care Power of Attorney, and no idea what to do next. And, my relative is not capable of doing any “end of life” planning at this late date. He’s comfortable with the notion that “everybody knows what I want.”

As the extended family met to discuss medical options and legal issues, it became clear that most of us had not done any end of life planning. That’s when I made my 2010 New Year’s resolution, to take care of my immediate family.

My wife and I sat down with an attorney and completed all the documents necessary to insure that “everybody knows what we want.” This includes physicians, hospitals, the legal authorities, and all our relatives. It didn’t take long and it didn’t cost much. It’s a comforting thought that we have taken care of all the details. Now our children won’t be burdened, at the worst possible time, and our assets will transfer to our loved ones quickly at minimum expense.

Estate Planning requires that a person face certain facts about their own mortality. However, it is a beautiful expression of how much you care for your family, not just here and now, but for a long time in the future.

So, for 2010, resolve to: be kinder, laugh more, cry often, love deeply, say your sorry, worry less, enjoy life, and take care of your family by doing a little advanced planning.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. Happy New Year.


David Talbot

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