Monday, December 28, 2009

Moving to Arizona

A quick trip to Prescott, Arizona the second week of December led to a significant life change. After almost thirty years in southern California, we’re moving. A house has been purchased and it’s time to begin our new retirement life.

Well, almost. It was hard to get excited about moving when there is a home full of possession that need to be sorted, discarded, sold and packed for the movers. At first, it felt overwhelming, but a random phone call started the process.

I had lots of coats, winter clothes and blankets that I wanted to give to the homeless. A call from the local rescue mission informing me they’d have a truck in the neighborhood on Dec. 30 started the process. Consolidating the items to be donated didn’t feel too overwhelming and we both jumped into the process. In a few hours, we had three huge garbage bags full of items for the homeless. There was a sense of accomplishment at completing the task. We both felt the job ahead of us was manageable. We can do this!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Did You Talk About at Thanksgiving?

Recently, I heard a story about a newly retired woman exclaiming to her financial planner that completing a will was not only morbid, but something to do when you were ‘old.” It is an important step in creating a satisfying retirement life.

I don’t know of anyone who is excited about estate planning (except lawyers, of course). Similar to getting a colonoscopy, it needs to be done.

Estate planning isn’t just for you. It’s for the people you care about. It forces you to look at the final phase of your life. While that can be scary, it can also be very liberating. It is also lets you control your life and your legacy.

My mother doesn’t have an up-to-date will. A number of years ago, we encouraged her to get a trust, but she didn’t understand it and ultimately refused to sign the papers. She now has a new will, but so far hasn’t gotten it notarized. I think she believes that signing the will eliminates her choices. In reality, not signing the will passes control to the state and hospitals that don’t know her and don’t care about following her wishes.

Estate planning can be confusing. There are a lot of decisions to make. Attorneys Michael and Danielle Mayoras have written a great book,
Trials and Heirs to help you through the process. By using stories of the rich and celebrated, they describe what can happen if you don’t plan adequately. In addition, they offer easy to understand information to help you learn about estate planning for you and your family.

One of the most confusing aspects of estate planning is whether or not you need a living trust. Attorney Michael Pancheri from The Living Trust Network contributed a six-part series about the
Reasons for a Living Trust.

Along with planning all the wonderful things you want to do with your retirement, take the time to talk to an attorney and plan for the end of your life. You’ll be glad you did.