Maria Tomas-Keegan, Life Coach (MIND)

We can have peace of mind through transitions in life if our finances/estate planning are in place. It can be one area that we can take control of when other areas are out of our control. We often deal with several transitions over our lifetime but it is good to be aware that those transitions can be cumulative. If we don’t deal with who we are after each transition, that cumulative effect can be overwhelming and very unhealthy.

To help us get through our transitions in life not only easier but healthier, we should create a trusted advisor board, a band of angels, or a tribe of friends (whatever term speaks to you). They know us and can think clearly when we can’t and help us through the unexpected times when life happens. We need more than one person on our “board” since no one is strong in all areas.

Grief is normal, even if you are a strong person, and it can be experienced even in anticipation of a loss (like in a caregiver situation). It ebbs and flows over different timeframes for different people ranging from a gentle wave to a tsunami, and that is normal too. Only you know when you are ready to move through the various phases of grief since there is no one-size-fits all process. Know that you are normal and you will evolve through it.

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Heather Parker, Attorney at Law (MONEY)

If you are like a majority of Americans and do not have a written plan in place for your estate, the state has a plan for you, but you may not like it! It is important to understand the various documents that you can use to take care of your family. The wishes expressed in a will only take effect after you are gone. So the importance of drafting power of attorney documents and medical directives is crucial to specify what actions you prefer while you are alive and who you designate to act on them for you. A trust allows you to remain in control with more detailed options for deciding the “what-ifs” in life.

Words to the wise: If you draft a trust document, be sure you follow-up with the necessary “homework” afterwards (“funding the trust” involves re-titling assets and updating beneficiary designations if necessary). Put your health care directives in place before you ever need them. Check with banks and financial institutions regarding their power of attorney requirements because they can all be different. And be sure you communicate with your family not only what your wishes are, but where the documents are located if needed.

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