Are you too comfortable?

Hey There, Mama!
Have you gotten too comfortable? Just taking it day by day?
When you get comfortable, you’re less likely to make improvements in your life.
Why?
Because you’ve settled.
You’ve become complacent.
nevergettoocomfortable
I’ll tell you right now that you won’t be able to achieve your dreams if you’re cozy in your comfort zone.
 
I won’t sugar coat it. I’m going to keep it REAL AF. Only because I’ve been there.
 
Wanting to achieve big dreams and move mountains only to realize I was comfortable in my little bubble.
 
Success and dreams require you to get up and out of that zone. They don’t sit around and come knocking on your bubble’s door.
 
They only come around when you’re off your butt and taking big, bold, action.
Want to find out if you’re too comfort comfortable?
 
I have a free worksheet for you to complete. No email required. No strings attached. Get it here.
 
Once you realize where you are settling, then you can take the steps to make the changes you want, live your life with purpose, on purpose and leave a legacy you want.
 
P.P.S. Stay tuned for my 7 Day Challenge on Wholistic Life Planning

Casey Kasem + End-of-Life + Step-Children

Casey KasemAfter two weeks of being in a hospital in Washington, Casey Kasem has passed at the age of 82.

His passing did not come without notoriety. The pubic battle over his health care began in October 2013 when his oldest children protested in front of their father’s home after their step-mother would not allow the children to visit with Kasem.

In 2007, when Kasem found out he had Parkinson’s, he signed a Health Care Directive granting authorization to his two oldest daughters to make decisions for him.

This document, which snubbed Kasem’s wife, set the stage for the legal battle that would erupt six years later as his health deteriorated and his children accused the stepmother of shutting them out of their father’s life. It would serve as a legal basis for his daughter to have doctors discontinue infusions of water, food and medicine.

So, what can we take from this public and emotional battle:

  1. A health care directive is helpful to give instructions and appoint an agent to act on your behalf.
  2. A health care directive does not however, guarantee that no one will contest it.
  3. A health care directive allows you to pass on your wishes regarding life support so a judge can use it to make determinations in court if the issue arises.
  4. A situation like this is one reason why blended families (especially) should have a comprehensive estate plan.

May Mr. Casem rest in peace.

 

A Funeral Full of Strangers

written by Bay Area Estate Planning Attorney Carmen Rosas
 

As I was watching the news last night, I heard about a man named Harold Percival. The attendees at his funeral were all strangers. Mr. Percival, age 99, died in a nursing home last month. He did not have any close family members, nor was he married.

The thought of this made me both heartbroken and relieved. Heartbroken, because I could not imagine what it would be like to live to be 99 without having family or friends that would attend my funeral (or present in my life for that matter!) Relieved, because there are still people out there who would honor a man they have never met.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” -John Donne

Have you thought about your funeral arrangements? Would you want to be cremated? It’s not a topic everyone is anxious to discuss, but it’s important.

Have you thought about the legacy you want to leave behind? Are you a d0-g0oder who volunteers? Are you a workaholic? A veteran? How do you want to be remembered? legacy

I think too often we all forget how quickly and unexpected death can come. It’s important to live our lives exactly how we want to. Be happy. Do your best to not get angry. Love, just love. But most of all be true to yourself and the legacy you hope to leave behind.

When you pass away, years down the line those who remember you will talk, and say “I remember ____(insert name). He/She was such a ______”- what life are you living and what will those blanks be?

And if for some reason you live beyond your friends and family, the life  you live may touch the hearts of strangers- so much that they will attend your funeral.

A little ray of hope in humanity has been restored!

I just want to be a millionaire! (Doesn’t everyone?)

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, estate planning and financial planning have a lot more in common than you think. See my blog post here.

Many young professionals are hesitant to create an estate plan because “they don’t have anything.” (I can relate because I WAS one of THOSE people!) So your little estate, thats a little bit of a problem, right? WRONG!

Although your “estate” or “stuff” isn’t millionaire status, it’s still worth protecting. I mean you have your health (do you want to be on life support or have your organs donated?); you have your “stuff” (your grandmother’s flask and your grandfather’s sewing kit, your pet, and all those clothes!); and you have a bank account (even if it is EMPTY, oh and that 401(k) thing your employer matches). It’s worth having a plan for all of these important things, even if it does get donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

An estate plan is like a cool treasure box- you throw all your stuff and money into it and when you die or hit the looney bin, all your stuff is in one place for your loved ones to access.

Any how, why wouldn’t you want to create a plan NOW when things aren’t so complicated? You create an estate plan with your basics mentioned above and as you get older and get more things of value (i.e. more MONEY!), you will have a place for them.

I bet your next question is “HOW can I make more money?!”- well, I don’t have THE answer, but I do have some tips on how to take control of your personal finances so you can try to get to millionaire status. Read it here!

Since it’s Friday. I’m going to go enjoy the weekend and if I have more cool tips for you, I’ll post them Monday. Either way, you should join my e-mail list so you never miss a beat and you’ll get all the fun extra goodies I send out just go here or here!

P.S. September 1st is our BIRTHDAY! The law office will be 1!! Keep an eye out for a special edition of our newsletter and the offers we have to celebrate our birthday!! Have a great weekend!

How do you explain death to a child?

As an estate planner, I often help clients deal with the steps in planning for death. I also face the spouses or children of those clients once their loved one has passed.

 A client, whose mother passed away and was in my office to administer her mother’s trust, asked, “how do I help my child deal with the death of their grandmother?”

 When a loved one dies it’s difficult to know how to help kids cope with the loss, more so while you deal with your own grief.

How much a child understands about death varies greatly depending on their age, life experience, and personality. Not all children cope with grief the same way.  There are however, a few important things to remember.

BE HONEST

Explain the best way you know how and encourage questions. Although you may not have all the answers, it’s important to create a comfortable atmosphere that allows for openness and allows the child to understand there is no right or wrong way to feel.

As children get older, they begin to understand that death is final and may “wish” that someone would not die. Children ages 6-10 tend to deal best with death when given accurate, simple, clear, and honest explanations about what happened.

As kids mature into teens, they start to understand that every human being eventually dies, regardless of grades, behavior, wishes, or anything they try to do.

EXPLAIN WHAT DEATH IS

You may need to explain to a child what “death” or “dying” means. For example, you can explain that a person’s body stopped working. If the deceased is elderly, you could explain that the body became old and the doctor’s couldn’t fix it. Or in cases of a sudden accident, you could explain that the event was so sad the body just stopped working.

Young children often have a hard time understanding that all people and living things eventually die, and that it’s final and they won’t come back. They may continue to ask where the loved one is and although it may be frustrating, you may have to explain that the person has died and won’t be returning.

Avoid using euphemisms, such as telling kids that the loved one “went away” or “went to sleep” or even that your family “lost” the person. Because young kids think so literally, such phrases might inadvertently make them afraid to go to sleep or fearful whenever someone goes away.

REMEMBER CHILDREN’S QUESTIONS MAY NOT BE AS DEEP AS YOU THINK

Remember that kids’ questions may sound much deeper than they really are. For example, a 5-year-old who asks where someone who died is now probably isn’t asking whether there’s an afterlife. Kids might be satisfied hearing that someone who died is now in the cemetery. This could be a good time to share your beliefs about an afterlife or heaven if that is part of your belief system.

However as teens, children may begin to question mortality or vulnerability and the meaning of life. A teen may ask “why” it happened, not in the literal sense, but as a way for them to understand life. If a 16-year-old has a friend who died in a car accident, they may be less inclined to want to get behind the wheel or ride in the car. Your best approach is to empathize with the your teen and explain that you understand how frightened and scared they must be. This will also be a good time to review safe driving habits- no texting or talking on the phone while driving, always wear a seatbelt, or not to get into a car with someone who has been drinking.

MOURNING THE LOSS

A question often asked is whether or not it is appropriate to take a child to a funeral. There is no right or wrong answer- it depends on you and your child. It is best to explain what the funeral or memorial is and let them decide.

It’s important to prepare the child for what may occur- the open casket, individuals speaking, others crying, as well as other mourning processes. Explain your spiritual beliefs and the meaning behind the mourning rituals.

If you think your grief may interfere with explaining the death to your child, ask a friend or a family member to care for and focus on your child during the service.

Many parents worry about letting their kids witness their own grief, pain, and tears about a death. Don’t — allowing your child to see your pain shows that crying is a natural reaction to emotional pain and loss. And it can make kids more comfortable sharing their feelings. But it’s also important to convey that no matter how sad you may feel, you’ll still be able to care for your family and make your child feel safe.

GETTING MORE HELP

As kids learn how to deal with death, they need space, understanding, and patience to grieve in their own way.

They might not show grief as an adult would. A young child might not cry or might react to the news by acting out or becoming hyperactive. A teen might act annoyed and might feel more comfortable confiding in peers. Whatever their reaction, don’t take it personally. Remember that learning how to deal with grief is like coping with other physical, mental, and emotional tasks — it’s a process.

Nevertheless, watch for any signs that kids need help coping with a loss. If a child’s behavior changes radically — for example, a gregarious and easygoing child becomes angry, withdrawn, or extremely anxious; or goes from having straight A’s to D’s in school — seek help.

Seek out help from a school counselor, doctor, or mental health professional. One of these professionals may be able to suggest books or videos to help manage grief.

Although parents would like to shield their children from the sadness and losses of life, they can’t. Helping them cope with their emotions and building resources that help them understand their feelings will give them tools to manage throughout life.

What tips do you have for explaining death to a child? What has helped you? 

Prepare for the unexpected

As many of you have heard, actor James Gandolfini passed away Wednesday, unexpectedly. CNN reports that the cause of death is unknown but his managers say it may have been the result of a heart attack. Gandolfini was a great actor and his loss is shocking to people everywhere.

When someone passes unexpectedly, it can be a very traumatic experience. There is no real chance to say your “goodbyes” or even “prepare yourself.” For this reason, it is important that you and your family have an estate plan that prepares you for the unexpected.

Some points to consider:

  1. Gandolfini left behind a wife, young child and a son from a previous relationship. Without an estate plan, Gandolfini’s property will likely go to his wife and could ultimately leave his teenage son with nothing. If you are part of a blended family, this is something you should consider.
  2. Death or incapacity can happen at any time. Be sure you plan and prepare your family to handle your affairs when you no longer can.
  3. Create a plan that ensures your wishes and desires regarding your property and your remains are followed.

If you would like more information on how to create an estate plan, contact our Redwood City Estate Planning Attorney for assistance.

Keeping Gandolfini’s family in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn their loss.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Its never too early or too late to start a new goal or challenge. Want to know the key to success?? It’s to DO- take steps that will move you forward. Hope helps, but it’s not enough.

As this year ends and a new one begins, be sure to take action steps to be successful. Each day is a new day, do something different.

If financial freedom is your goal- create a budget. If a healthier lifestyle is your goal- get walking, throw out the junk food. If a  happier life is your goal- take steps to be stress free, schedule time to get away from work and spend time with loved ones. Whatever goal or challenge you set for the new year, work at it, breathe it- be successful.

Thank you all for following this blog and the continued support I have had in hanging my own shingle. I hope that what we write helps you and makes life a little easier- not only during times of divorce or financial/estate planning- but overall. I can promise that in the coming year, our office will continue to provide information you can use.

Wishing you all a prosperous and happy new year! See you all in 2013!

New Year, New You! Make this year YOUR year.

new_years_eve_getaways_600x450Someone once told me that the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
(My younger brother, apparently quoting Albert Einstein)

Each year, we all make resolutions- lose weight, save more, eat better, spend less time working, etc., etc. And each year many of us break those resolutions within a month (or two if we’re lucky).

Here are some tips to help get a jump start to 2013 and make some changes that aren’t so dramatic:

Make a New Year’s Resolution: Even if you break it, at least you had the intent, right?! This year, make it your New Year’s Resolution to reduce stress and anxiety over the economy and get your finances in order. Start by turning off the evening news and spending quality time with loved ones. Taking a step back will help you gain long-term perspective and focus on the people who matter most in your life.

Focus on Your Health: The relationship between physical health and mental health is important. Focus on finding the right balance in your diet, through exercise and getting a good night’s sleep.

Don’t Make Rash Decisions: Making any decision on the spur of the moment is never a good idea. Try not to react immediately to bad news. Take some deep breaths and meditate for a minute or so.

Don’t Stress Over the Things You Can’t Control: I am a control freak. I cannot deny it, but even I know there are somethings in life we cannot control. So, focus less on the things you can’t control, like the stock market and the cost of living, loss, and more on the things you can. Review your expenses and see where you can make cuts. Postpone that vacation or eat out a little less. Use the opportunity to find things to do with your loved ones that bring you closer and cost less, such as a family game night or handmade gifts. In thinking about what you can control, this does include estate planning. (Keep an eye out for our post on Finances and Estate Planning in the next few days!)

Don’t be afraid to seek help: We can’t do EVERYTHING without feeling a little stressed! If anxiety or stress becomes too much, find someone you can talk to about what you’re going through. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members, friends, and a professional, if necessary.

We hope this helps jumpstart your resolution setting (even if it is broken by Valentine’s Day!) and helps you take back your life- wishing you lots of Peace and Joy in the coming year!

-Carmen