Planning Ahead Can be a Gift–WNIJ Perspective

By May 3, 2017 Advice, WNIJ

I think about dying often now that I’m on the other side 60, the year my mother died. Since I’m one of these people who likes to get things done ahead of time, I want to clean out some clutter, decide who gets what, and see a lawyer to get our estate figured out.
I remember well how my parents’ lawyer told my brother and me that he had encouraged our father to get his things in order, but my dad didn’t. He died and left my brother and me with an estate in common, and a memory of my mother’s warning, “Don’t let your brother cheat you.”

My brother and I spent several horrible years trying to settle that estate. We fought over our parents’ things, which were more than just things because they carried their love. Once we’d settled the stuff, it took years to work through the hurt.

I have seen how easy it is to settle an estate when the legal work is done ahead of time. Bruce’s mother spelled out her wishes clearly. And I have seen the confusion and overwhelm when there is no will to be found.

Estate planning confronts us with decisions that are painful to make, wrapped up in mortality and who gets what, but what a gift to the people left to have the kind of clarity estate planning brings.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective.

If you’d like to hear me read this, click  here.

If you’d like to read a fictionalized part of the story I allude to, you can find The River Caught Sunlight  in both ebook and print formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart (!).


  • Alison Bolshoi says:

    I have to agree. I’ve seen cases where no will led to families dragged through legal battles for years, and cases where wills left an estate to one child, completely cutting out the other — or worse, one where a son was left everything except a small trust which he was to be in charge of — for his much older sister! People should really think things through when they make their wills. So often families get ripped apart. Plan, plan well, and take feelings into account!

    • katiewilda says:

      It’s a tough thing when people don’t plan their estate properly. Those situations where the parents leave the estate to one child or cut out the other are very ugly. And can be costly emotionally because that will kind of represents the parents’ love. Maybe one day I’ll private message you another part of my story. We don’t have any children so figuring out who to make as executor etc will be challenging.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey says:

    Katie, I hardly expecte d to read this, but what a wonderful post and ideas to share w/ your readers, b/c people don’t usually think about this . . . till it’s too late. We have only one daughter, so it’s pretty much settled. But we do have a plan and a will. But oh the clutter of my books and papers. Yikes! Still need to get my ducks in a row. I can’t tell you the family pain I’ve seen when there are no wills. And yes, it goes beyond the money and property. Sometimes those sentimental things are the most sensitive bc of all the memories they hold. Thank you for this timely reminder. I’m over sixty too! Yikes again! 🙂

    • katiewilda says:

      Oh Lynn thanks so much for responding. I’m so glad you have a daughter and that this is all settled for her. I have already started to weed my books. (I found a guy who would sell them for me and give me half the price. It was a great service. I took twenty bags and boxes out and I have hardly scratched the surface. I keep buying them too and need to get my nose out of my internet reading and start reading them!) I used to keep all my emails, so those notebooks probably need to be chucked, though I think there is good material there. I just haven’t gotten there yet.

      My notebooks are both artist’s notebooks but also venting writing. I put post it notes in some of them with regards to big events, but not in all, so it’s kind of confusing. I may end up burning those too…All that paper can shift from feeling rich in ideas to overwhelm

      It does go beyond money and property because those things carry the parents’ love and memories. I had a lot to work through.

      I bet we could swap some interesting notes about being over sixty!