Legacy Solutions: What Should “Putting Your Affairs In Order” Mean Today?[caption id="attachment_803" align="alignnone" width="524"] Authors Terrie and Jon Hull[/caption]
By: Jon Hull, Author / Life & Legacy Documentation Expert / Speaker
Putting your affairs in order in today’s fast paced, make it easy, I need more time world is not as easy as in the days of our grandparents. But what does the term really mean? If you asked 100 people, you would likely get 100 varying lists of details.
What many people fail to understand are the legalities related to this subject and the need for timely family conversations and legal actions throughout life to ensure that if something happens to you, this is what will happen with your family and your finances. Remember, if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen, according to the laws of our justice system.
As we wrote in our book, paraphrased here, a lady exclaimed during one of our workshops that she had talked with her best friend about taking care of her minor children should something happen to her and her husband. I asked her if she had put those wishes into her Will or through basic guardianship documents. You could see the fear wash over her when she realized that she had not and that her friend would be asked the question in custody court, “Prove that you had that conversation”. You see, anyone could make that claim of the same conversation, but without the legal precedent of properly putting it in writing, it’s merely hearsay to the courts.
Some myths we hear are;
- This is something you do when you get old
- I don’t have much money, so what’s the point
- I can’t afford an attorney
- My affairs are my business
- I don’t want to talk about death
- I don’t want to burden my family with this
So, let’s set the record straight in layman’s terms. There are two parts to addressing the personal and legal aspects of what amounts to having an ongoing life plan in place that benefits you and your family for generations.
The two parts;
1) Putting your affairs in order; Organizing the stuff of your life, physical stuff, financial stuff, and digital stuff, as well as having timely conversations with family as you go.
2) Setting a legal precedent for your family, finances and wishes through an estate attorney. Usually that’s created through the combination of a Trust, Will and appointing a personal agent with power of attorney. How simple or complex depends on the quantity of your finances and what/how you want to protect those.
It’s easier to look at what “Having your affairs in order” looks and feels like in order to truly understand that you have probably been performing many of the family and financial aspects of life all along. The important aspect of both parts that has gotten out of control in today’s society is that there is a belief that costs well-meaning families tens of thousands of dollars and untold anguish and undue burden. Perhaps you have witnessed this.
Having your affairs in order means you are forward looking and organized for the protection of yourself, your family and your finances throughout and beyond your lifetime.
For families which have operated this way, having your affairs in order most likely started when you got married and a parent asked if you have bought life insurance to ensure neither of you would incur financial debt should/when one of you pass on. It took the timely parental prompting along with the human qualities of forward thinking, important conversations and united decision making to get to that life decision. If you did that, we applaud your accomplishment! For some this is deeply difficult, and those pushing through the process deserve extra accolades.
This is just one example for the bigger picture of “Having your affairs in order”. It is a lifetime of using these three qualities at exacting time intervals throughout life. Having your affairs in order is not something you wait to do later in life like another task on the to-do list. It is making sure you protect the people and things in your life, as you go through your life.
Having your affairs in order should be a generational process, but it appears that within just a few generations, the family conversations have been lost for many families, or the process has turned into a horrible game of telephone.
We are going to have these conversations with you over the next several weeks. Each Monday, Terrie and I will go through the action times for communication and decisions that give you confidence and peace of mind for your fantastic journey into the future. The key point to keep as your main motivator is that something will happen to you and you need to be prepared. We hope that we all live long lives, but as many people find out, that “something” can happen at any time, like tomorrow. Once something happens, there is a legal line in the sand that divides those who have prepared and those who have not. If you have read our book, “A Legacy Undone” you have learned a great deal about how the legal aspects of having your affairs in order can play out.
Whatever your age, race, religion, or financial status, these personal and legal actions pertain to us all equally according to the laws. Through our conversations you will be able to clearly see if you are on track, need to catch up on some things, or are in the danger zone. Some of the weekly blog topics will include;
- Timely important conversations
- Parents with minor children
- Your 18 year old adult
- Marriage considerations
- Single people considerations
- Single parent considerations
- You made it to 50, now what?
- Playing affairs catch up
- Smart consumer decisions that keep you alive longer
- That one way trip to Mars…….tomorrow
- A legacy of savvy family
- Where’s the stuff?
- Easy solutions for organizing
- Protecting your kingdom, (There are people who want to take your money and people)
- Setting a legal precedent for your family, Lawyers rule the world! And ^^^^^^^^)
- The internet and your affairs
We invite you to converse with us at the end of each post to ask questions and tell your story of life plans gone right and wrong, so more people can learn from your experiences.