January 2021 is here and though the holidays are over, I’m guessing there are some celebrations that have been delayed until a later date. I’m still enjoying the decorations and a few cookies, but for the most part, we are focused on what 2021 might hold in store for us. As we review the past year, there’s a lot to process or “percolate on” as grandmother used to say. We have lived through a time in history that will be talked about for years to come. The life changes that we have made, the effects on our daily lives, our work, and our schools are points to ponder. Journaling these events will help us process all the many changes and record them for future generations. If you haven’t thought about it, the new year might be a good time to try!
2020 was just hard. For some it was hard financially, for others emotionally or spiritually, for some physical challenges topped the list, and I daresay there are many who might relate to all of the above. Little did I realize when my brother and I made a quick trip to Kentucky in November to take fall flowers to my grandparent’s graves, that we would lose close friends and family before the year ended. There’s something very sobering about walking a graveyard - the memories and the tears blend to release a smile as the promise of hope for a brighter tomorrow is instilled by faith. Last night I said good bye, for now, to my sister-in-law with whom I’ve shared many family moments and memories as we raised our children together. The previous week it was a friend and neighbor who passed, and I’m sure I’m not alone with the current trend in our state. While it’s not a pleasant topic of conversation, it does prompt all of us to look at what our final wishes might be and determine if we have everything in order. Here is a quick list for us to review, and maybe this should be a priority for 2021. Having these conversations with family members is never easy, but in the event that they are needed, it certainly makes the process go more smoothly and the relationships honored.
Will or Trust- one or the other is needed to protect and provide for the disposition of your assets, debts and/or minor children at death.
Executor-The person who will follow your wishes and processes the will or trust (maybe along with an attorney).
Minor Children- Who will you name as guardian for them? This is a large responsibility and a discussion is needed before listing names in your document.
Provisions for you household goods or collections - this can be in conjunction with your will or trust with helpful instructions for how you want your items distributed. (Household goods, farm machinery, jewelry, tools, family mementoes, guns, etc.).
Power of Attorney for Finance or Business - a person whom you trust to make decisions with your money or your business should you not be able to do so yourself.
Living Will- gives directions to your medical providers about your healthcare wishes if you can’t relay the information yourself.
While there are many other points to consider, these may get us started, and I will continue next week with more information. If you or your loved ones have not started these conversations, there’s no time like the present to review what is in place and to consider future plans. There is no time like the present to get started, your first goal of 2021!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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