Planning with HOPE is written by guest blogger Joanne Lathrop. Joanne is the Photo Organizing Assistant with HOPE Organizing.
Planning with HOPE
HOPE Organizing helps families preserve their memories. We all like to focus on the fun times like weddings, births, graduations, and other milestones. The milestone of having a loved one pass is not often talked about but part of life all the same. In fact, preserving memories can even make the passing of a loved one a bit more bearable.
My Why for Planning
My family recently experienced a loss of our friend Anne. She was 48 years old and newly diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. While family and friends were still trying to come to terms with her diagnosis, she died just 2 short weeks later. At the funeral, amid conversations about the blessing of a quick passing, there was a heavy feeling. The reality is that we were not prepared. She never had the time to pass on her funeral wishes and find closure with her family and friends.
Pre-Planning for Those You Love
Supporting the family beyond the funeral has prompted conversations about what my husband and I would like for our own funeral arrangements. Many local funeral homes offer pre-planning services to help determine specifics in advance. If your family has a funeral home they traditionally use, check with them to see what pre-planning services are offered. Heafey, Hoffmann, Dworak & Cutler in the Omaha metro area offers several tools to help you plan ahead.
We also started talking more about everyday things like budget, childcare and how life will look when one of us dies. At times, the conversations can be challenging, but I encourage everyone to take the time to really talk about this difficult subject. In addition to purchasing ample life insurance – your insurance agent or financial planner can help you determine how much you need – you should also have a current Last Will & Testament. My husband and I had our will drafted when my son was a baby. Now that he is going on 20 years old, we have talked about making up a more current one. Lisa shared that her and Bruce kept putting it off and finally did it when their son was 3-years-old. They said that it was such a relief to have it off their minds. It really isn’t as hard (or expensive) as people think.
Create an Ethical Will
In addition, ask yourself how you are going to share your thoughts and insights with those you love after you are gone? Lawyers refer to this as creating an “Ethical Will.” This term basically means taking the time to record your hopes, aspirations and insights so that you can leave behind a legacy that will be shared for generations to come. Documenting your thoughts will help your family know what your life was like; what you hope for them in the future beyond finances and funeral arrangements. Learn more about in “My Dad created an ‘Ethical Will’ Here’s What That Means And Why You May Want One Too” by Carrie Friedman, daughter of an estate planning attorney.
Enjoy Memories Now
A great compliment to an Ethical Will is to share your life through pictures. However, celebrating your life does not have to wait until you have passed. Instead why not organize and digitize your photo collection so you can enjoy your life now! Work on putting together images for your next birthday, anniversary or just for fun as a celebration of life. Share them with family and friends and show the world who you are. Trust me, the people in your life will enjoy viewing your pictures with you and they will be able to ask questions about your life to you directly. Then, when the time comes that your family does need to create a funeral slideshow, they can pull up your celebration video; remember the time they spent enjoying it with you; add some new photos and know that they have a representation of your life that you played a part in creating.
Even if you don’t create a video slideshow at this point, it is still helpful to organize and digitize your photo collection. Not only will it help you easily access your images throughout your (hopefully long) life, it will make it easier to share these important pictures of the past with your family. HOPE Organizing can help make sure that each family member receives copies of either your entire collection or the images that you think will mean the most for them to keep. They will be digitally preserved so you do not have to worry about old photo albums getting ruined with time. Having your photos organized also makes it easier for family members to put together a slideshow for you anytime – whether it is for a surprise party or your funeral.
HOPE is Here for You
Our time together on this earth is precious and never guaranteed. It isn’t something any of us like to think about or talk about, but with a little forethought and help from HOPE Organizing, you can make sure your memories are preserved and able to be enjoyed for generations to come. We take out life insurance policies to cover expenses when we are gone and insure that life can go on smoothly after we die – isn’t taking the time to preserve our memories like insurance that our legacy and family’s story will go on as well? Schedule your free consultation and let us talk about how we can help you plan for your future while saving the past.
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