I compose blog posts (in my head) all the time–little Valentines to you all, so tickled am I that you’re reading along… though lately these posts stay mostly just there–in my head.
I’ve been thinking about how life is like driving a car. Sometimes we hit a speed bump, or run over a curb. At times we get in a little fender bender; it shakes us up and we have to exchange information with others. Then there is getting broadsided in the middle of a busy intersection. The ambulance is called and it can require a whole team of people to get you back on your feet.
Seeing that I’ve experienced all of those things physically in life, I can recognize when it happens metaphorically, also. And let me tell you,I got broadsided two years ago and nothing has been the same. (It may never be again).
It was when I got the phone call from my mom that my step dad had terminal cancer that I first packed a bag and left Maui, two years ago next month. There is so much to be done for a terminal cancer patient (lifting, feeding, just keeping the morphine schedule straight…)that Mom and I and my niece, whom they raised, were in survival mode and not discussing things like the Will/Trust, or business. Bad move.
I was gone seven months that time, then home to Maui for a brief stint, then back to California to care for my mother post-surgery, then home in a heartbeat to care for Mike, who had a nasty case of near-fatal blood poisoning, from a splinter in his foot off the dock in Lahaina. (The airlines LOVE me.) Then, because life just wasn’t exciting enough, I was in the hospital myself for four days with sepsis. I think my body knew that putting me in the hospital was the only way I was going to get any rest.
I was barely recuperated when mom needed surgery again-so back to California. Only this time, she didn’t make it. And it went from feeling like being broad-sided in that intersection, to a 10-car pileup, mostly because I never had a chance to breathe and catch up the whole time.
So here I am, eight months in, of being the Executor for an estate where the Will/Trust was spectacularly poorly written by an attorney who should have known better, and the fallout from that. And, the questions.
Everywhere I go, from my parent’s bank, to their credit union, to their grocery store, people helping me ask,”I am writing my Will, I am creating a Family Trust…what can I do differently, to avoid the problems you’ve had?” One friend went so far as to change her Will after observing all this. She chose to make her attorney the Executor, so that none of the kids have to bear the weight.
But what I tell people is this: make it iron-clad. Nothing wishy-washy, not a single paragraph anywhere. My parents could not agree on a special-needs child, and so the Trust was written so ambiguously that I had to hire another attorney to clean the mess up. Two weeks ago I was again back in that attorney’s office, and there was shoutin’ goin’ on. All because two people couldn’t agree on how to write their Trust. So who’s problem did it become? Mine, the Trustee.
The weight of all this has been staggering. I just had to get the blazes out of California, so I am back on Maui for about a week, for R&R, like from the military. People have been wondering where I’ve been, so there you have it.
So now go do a Trust and Will check up, either for your own,or for your parents or for your grandparents. People just hate talking about this stuff… so they don’t do it.
Now don’t tell me you were never warned.
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