Okay, so my son thinks I am immortal. I kind of like that vision. But, as my 43rd birthday came and went this March, and I subsequently watched a close friend who is the same age battle infectious breast cancer, I had an aha moment. Suddenly, I didn't see the Wonder Woman cape and super hero uniform my son thinks I wear. I am a single parent; and although my son's father is sometimes present in his life, I shuddered to think what would happen if I suddenly was unable to care for him or had an untimely leaving from this earth.
So, I picked up the phone and contacted my attorney to ask him to help me put together my estate planning needs. I thought it was just a one document kind of thing, but to my surprise, it was more involved than I thought.
We met in his beachfront house where he resides and works. Sitting in the livingroom overlooking Little Neck and Plum Island Sound, we spent an hour going through all of the details. My attorney explained to me that based on my situation, he recommended a revocable living trust agreement. Where my situation is still fluid and I am "young" (I liked that) there would be room for changes on an as needed basis. Other documents he recommended included a nominee realty trust, schedule of beneficial interests, a pour over will, durable power of attorney, a living will, a health care proxy, among other things to transfer property into the living trust. When my attorney asked me who I would like to appoint as an executor I at first did not hesitate. But then he asked for a second and third person in the event the first was unable to perform...now that caused all sorts of consternation for me. How do you rank your siblings?
Growing up with an irish twin sister and two little brothers was fun, challenging and sometimes downright annoying. As the oldest, I was the role model and the example, as well as the babysitter. I sometimes envisioned myself being an only child and enjoying the entire gallon tub of Maple Walnut Fudge ice cream from Newport Creamery that my aunt Philomena used to bring us kids on Sundays after church. My sister would always hog the bucket...leaving miniscule amounts left for me and my brothers.
As the oldest, you also get the bird's eye view of your siblings' strengths and weaknesses...this was the first time, however, I surprised myself by selecting the youngest member of my family as the number one go-to person.
All-in-all, I felt relief and comfort walking away from the meeting. I felt I was on my way to helping to secure my son's future. What a great feeling.