Friday, January 14, 2011

Will

I don't claim to be the most organized person on planet earth, but I'm not completely chaotic either. I ususally have about 20 million projects going all at once, and miraculously most of them eventually get done; so I must have at least some organizational skills. The other day I was in an organizational mood and set about making one of my famous "lists" of things to do. These tend to start out with some hint of restraint, but almost invariably grow to ridiculous proportions as things keep popping in my head that need my attention. I guess what started it all was Tithing Settlement. I always wait til the last moment for that, and of course you have to get all your records in order first. So I had to scramble to get all that figured out, then that process started me thinking about tax preparation, and before I knew it I was in the throes of making a list. Here's a sample:

  1. Organize expenses and reciepts for taxes
  2. Get 1099 forms out to people who did work for me last year
  3. Put away Christmas decorations
  4. Throw away Christmas catalogs
  5. Renew domain name with GoDaddy.com
  6. Clean out closets, organize unwanted items for donation to Good Will
  7. Update pictures of house and contents for insurance purposes
  8. Review insurance coverage with insurance agent
  9. Update WILL
When I got to number 9, I had to pause. It started my mind off in some new directions entirely.

I've had a will for a long time, but it hasn't been updated in ages. Some of the people mentioned in it are no longer in my life, and others have come into the picture that are now important to me. Definitely time to set things in order. The attorney I used to craft the first one is no longer around, so I decided to create my own this time using an online legal service called Legal Zoom.

The Legal Zoom site is pretty easy to use, and basically walks you through the process of creating a legal document through a series of questions. As I went through them, it stirred up some deeply serious thoughts. Its strange to actually contemplate the end of your life. The END! Gulp! In a lot of ways it seems like I'm just beginning! Even though I'm middle aged, it doesn't SEEM like I'm middle aged at all. I think we have two separate perceptions of age - our physical age and our "brain age". Even though our body ages, the brain tends to percieve itself as the same age. Its amazing how much I still think like I did when I was younger; only I'm a little wiser had have far more experience with things. The other thing I realized is how we fret over a lot of really insignificant things in our wills. We like to make these elaborate plans to have our "wishes" carried out, but all that is really an illusion to large degree. Those plans are actually there to make us feel better while we're ALIVE. We won't care about any of it once we're dead! So this time I cut way back on the elaborate "wishes". Simple division of the estate between family. No stipulations. The one thing I am going to insist on is the way the material possessions are divied up. I really like the way it happened with my grandmother's estate. Each person drew lots to establish an order for selecting items from the estate. Each person in turn got an opportunity to select one item they wanted, and we took turns like that over and over until the items were gone. You could trade off with someone else if you missed something near and dear to you, but there was no squabbling, no unfairness - it was great.

The other thing that struck me is just how unimportant all that material "stuff" is. Its just stuff! I have some nice family heirlooms that I inherited from relatives, but most of it just sits there in a box and serves no real purpose. As I get older I find myself wanting to get rid of  "stuff", not getting more of it! Its kind of ironic, since we spend so much time and effort early in life accumulating earthly possesions. In then end we die, our "stuff" gets dispersed to others, and soon there is little left to even mark the fact that we existed on this little planet. I realized that the only thing that really endures is the mark we make on others. The example we set, the love we give, the testimony we bear, and the kindness we show. The "stuff" is soon forgotten, used up, sold off, thrown out. Its what we CAN'T put in a will that ultimately endures.

4 comments:

FindingMyWay said...

And what a mark you've made on me! RN, you are amazing!! I always appreciate your posts. Much love,

FMW

Neal said...

Thanks FMW! Your mark will always be on my heart! :) Love ya!

Ted said...

Thank you, Dear Neal, for your thoughtful comments.
Our legacy is our love - that is true.
I am struck today - having being released from the hospital yesterday after two weeks - with Matthew 25: 31-35. My heart was full as those with many other agendas took time to visit me.

AKgayN.LDS said...

ughhh taxes! good luck with that! i'd rather have a dental work done!