Friday, May 29, 2015
Death and Taxes
“The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.”
- Will Rogers
I’ll try to not get creepy with this, but Death has visited my family twice this year. My mother died in February at the end of a long decline due to Alzheimer’s. Her death was a blessing for her and the family and as near as I can tell, we’re all at or working towards peace. My father in law died in April following surgery he had in late February. The surgery was elective and his death thus preventable and unexpected. His family is at various stages in their struggle to come to terms.
Both of these people had once led vibrant, fulfilled lives. They had plans. They were going to “do things”. My father in law told me in the pre-op room of his plans “once I get out of here”.
I met an old friend of my mother in laws at a family memorial gathering last weekend. He said he was 86 and was looking forward to a trip he had planned to ride a jet boat down the Snake River – “it’s on my bucket list” he said. He went on to describe some of the other men who lived in the same assisted living facility as he and how they didn’t want to join him for a beer down the street because it wasn’t “on their diet”. He expressed amazement – “These guys are older than me! What else are they gonna do?”
By now you are probably getting the drift of where I’m going with this:
1. Life is short (shorter than you think).
2. Make peace with your family members. They love you in spite of yourself.
3. Do what you want, but do it.
4. Hell is full of regrets but there are no regrets in Heaven - they make you check them at the gate.
Now to business:
1. Consolidate your financial accounts to the minimum number needed.
2. Make sure your legal documents express your wishes. If they don’t, make a new set.
3. If your attorney tells you to make a list of your personal property with directions as to whom it is to be left, do it. (In all my years as an adviser I’ve yet to see one of these completed).
You thought I was going to say something about taxes didn’t you? :>