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Monday, March 5, 2012

Snapshot of Your Legacy – Is it Ready?

A death earlier in the weekend of a young man in our town has left me pondering all the rest of the weekend. This young man leaves behind a wife and child and his death was sudden. A car accident took his life, and will forever change the lives of those left behind. It only seems fitting to reflect and start taking stock of what I would leave behind if something unexpected happened.

An outpouring of disbelief, love and grief is written all over his facebook wall. This proves this young man was well liked and loved by many in our town. He touched the lives of so many people in ways that have cherished memories and pictures being posted on his wall as a tribute to the kind of boy he was and the man he grew to be. When I learned the news, I had just attended a dear friend’s baby shower for her daughter. My Mom, sister, niece and my own daughter attended. We had a chance to catch up with old friends we had not seen in many years. The lesson to be learned here is to always celebrate life. Whenever a chance presents itself celebrate with those you love and cherish. We celebrate the upcoming birth of a child and will mourn the loss of a cherished friend. Life and death are both certain in the cycle. This young man has left behind a legacy of life where he celebrated the joys life had in store for him. He spent time with friends and family and laughed often and knew when to work and when to play.

Final details of the services are not clear yet. They seem to still be in the works. They have asked that in lieu of flowers, please send donations to a fund for his wife and child. Those details will be forthcoming. This leads into my next lesson about a legacy. It is truly more than what type of person you were and how you will be remembered. As morbid as it is, have you planned what your final wishes would be so it’s easier for the family left behind? They will be in shock and grieving so a plan in place does make that process much easier. Do you have enough life insurance or savings or plans left behind to take care of your family at least for the short term? How long is the short term or how long have you planned for income that will be able to help your family? Is your will completed or will the state decide how your assets are distributed?

I sit and scroll through the posts and cannot help but have tears in my eyes. His last and final post Saturday morning at 11:21 am was totally in character and was a joke at his own expense. He was the type of guy that would give anyone the shirt off his back if they needed it more. His posts always brought a smile to my face when I needed it. He was only 38 years old. When we are young we think we have the rest of our lives to figure everything out. We have time to get a will written and we have time to put insurance into place to provide for our loved ones. We have all the time in the world. Knowing how truly short life can be, as proven by our young friend, why wouldn’t you go ahead and get your plans in place? It really is peace of mind for yourself and your family that would be left behind.

This reflection has given me renewed determination. We will get our plan in place so there is no question left unanswered that we can anticipate. We will focus on our family business since it is the only one that I’ve found that the income can be willed to my children. My job certainly won’t continue to pay my children so I need to do something that I know will continue to provide for my family in the event that suddenly I’m gone. In doing so, I will leave a legacy that will provide not only for my family, but will also help others in the process. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start today, make and put your plans in place and leave behind a legacy that you and your family will be proud of.

Kathie Hitt
Email: kathiehitt@yahoo.com
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