Estate Planning Blues
I have found a lawyer I'm willing to do business with on this estate planning stuff that I recently realized I needed to do. She sent me a 15 page document to fill put before our official appointment that I haven't actually scheduled yet. This is a document that I probably should not fill out while PMSing. However, as I have started this thing, I can't just stop doing it in the middle. Though, I am going to hold off for a day or two.
My thoughts have gone something like this: 'Ok, I have a financial adviser. That won't be a problem. Life insurance agent? Do I have one of those? Um, I don't think so. Where are all my important documents stored? Um... currently all over the stupid place. I can't even find half of them right now. I know where my birth certificate is, my car title and some stock.... but no clue on the passport and... Damn. I really do have to go get that waterproof, fireproof safe now. Or a safety deposit box. Which do I want to do? Lose the combination to the safe or lose the key to the box? I think I'll go with lockbox. Which means I need to... Guardian 1, 2 and 3 for pets? Oh. Oh, dear. Esme. What will happen to Esme? She really should go to someone who does not have small kids or other pets. Ok. That lets out 95% of the people I know. This is going to be hard.'
*Short couple of IM conversations later*
'Damn! Ok. Those two said no. Now what? Who is going to take care of my little wench of a princess cat? I can't think of anyone else. Oh, I don't want her to go back into foster care. I don't. They may put her down as a danger because of the biting when over stimulated.' Of course, the princess cat picks this time to come over and head butt my shoulder for attention. I pick her up for a cuddle and am suddenly crying. I don't know why but I'm suddenly feeling very rejected because no one wants to take care of my kitty if something happens to me. I know why they said no. All of it is very understandable. It didn't make me feel any less rejected.
I ended up putting out a call on LJ asking for someone who will care for my kitty if I die. I got one surprise result and one not surprise result. It's made me relax a bit. I know my kitty will be taken care of. Plus, I'm going to add a trust for her so the person who will take her on won't have to pay for everything himself.
Still, this estate planning stuff is nerve wracking. I want everything to go well. I have talked to my sister about becoming executor and I still have to find a back up for her. Then, there are the personal letters to write to stay with the will. Hard decisions on the Living Will. Again, it looks like my sister will have power of attorney there. My mom specifically told me not to put her or dad first because, most likely, they will not outlive me.
(Now, there's a happy thought. I don't always get along with my parents. That much it true. But think have changed. In fact, I haven't fought with them for a long, long time. Ever since we came to an agreement on allowing me to find my own religious path, we haven't fought at all. So, the thought... the knowledge... that there is a very good chance that my parents will die not only before me but within the next 10 years fills me with a profound sadness that I have a hard time verbalizing. Time to digress.)
As hard as this is for me, I seem to also be stirring up uncomfortable feelings in some of my friends. We would all like to think that we are 10 feet tall and bulletproof; young and immortal. It's hard to officially and legally acknowledge that we aren't. I really have it easy. My biggest problem is wondering what will happen to my cat and can I get all the important documents I have in the right place. I cannot imagine what this would be like if I had children. My God! Finding Godparents for children? That has to be one of the worst decisions a parent has to make.
On the other hand, I know this is very important. I know that that are certain things I want to go to certain people, no doubt. There are a significant amount of assets that need to be wrapped up that I do not want to be gobbled up by the State because I was too lazy, distracted or ignorant to fill out this paperwork. A condo, a car, investments, stock certificates and a healthy savings account to start. Then, all of my toys - computer stuff, entertainment stuff, all my books, DVDs, etc... When I think about it, the list is huge and it makes me want to start giving away things left and right.
If I had a live-in SO whom I considered a spouse, no matter what gender, I would need to make sure they were in both the Last Will and the Living Will. Otherwise, if the worst care scenario happened, they would not be allowed to see me or to inherit anything from me because we didn't have that paper declaring us legal spouses. How sad that would be for both of us. Also, let us not forget the option of organ donation and medical experimentation after death. Both of which, by the way, I will be doing.
I know why this is making me (and probably everyone I talk to about it) uncomfortable. This whole process shows me just how unprepared I am for my possible death. The lack of prepared good-byes. The work I need to do to set that all up. It's about hard choices and seriously thinking about the possibility of death. It's about deciding who will get your beloved possessions after you are gone. It's about whether or not I (or you) will leave a lasting mark on this world of ours. I know I want to with my writing.
It's hard to convince yourself that it will all be OK in the end because you will be gone. I want to live until I'm at least 300 years old. I want to have the body of a 30 year old for that entire time. But, what I want and what will be are definitely two very different things. So, ever the planner, I am starting to do what I can to wrap it all up. By the end of this, I hope I will have a new peace of mind to know that all of this "stuff" is dealt with. That my friends and family will benefit when I'm gone.
Tarot Card for the Day: Three of Pentacles