Downs Law Firm, P.C.
Downs Law Firm, P.C.
December 7, 1941, is still a day that will live in Infamy. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor changed the course of life for all Americans, and ultimately of the world. President Franklin Roosevelt called on our people to unite. The people of that time rose to the occasion, and persisted for years to prevail to “inevitable triumph“. Those efforts and sacrifices defined that as “The Greatest Generation”. We now enter the winter season with a frightening surge in the spreading coronavirus and are called to our own individual sacrifice and adjustments. I was talking with a man the other day who expressed doubt about the overblown coverage of this pandemic. We are all suffering from fatigue at battling an invisible and unrelenting foe. But to the doubters, we have a death and dying practice and have worked with many families who have suffered deaths from Covid-19. The strains on the hospitals are attested to by my relatives and clients, some of whom are doctors and nurses. We are in for an unusual Christmas and maybe more limitations on movement. I don’t enjoy wearing a mask or miss seeing many of my family members. These are sacrifices of a different scale than those of World War II, but they are ours. We, unfortunately, are also torn apart by bitter politics and dysfunctional leadership at a scale unmatched in my lifetime. Let this not be our season of infamy. We all can only do what we can individually. I will try to respond in a positive and patient way with myself and those I interact with during the upcoming months. We have hope that a vaccine will be a game-changer. However, I hope that how we can rise to our challenge to handle this trial of our time together, and follow the better angels of our nature. As Abraham Lincoln urged his countrymen at another during the challenge of their time: “We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the ‘better angels of our nature.’ ” Failing to unite in action now will cause unnecessary death and suffering. Inflicting this on families by our own failure to take care would be our own season of infamy. We must do better.
When you open a financial account, you’re often asked to name a beneficiary. Simply stated, a beneficiary is someone who is entitled to the benefits of the account on the death of the account holder. For example, if you’ve purchased life insurance, you name a beneficiary who receives the benefits of the policy when you pass away.
Estate planning documents often are treated like the photocopied permission slip for a child’s field trip. You fill in your name, include the children’s names and dates of birth, and sign. The document is filed away to be used if needed, but you really never expect it to be used.
Thanks to the Internet, everyone has the ability to draft wills, trusts, and a variety of other legal documents. Many documents can be produced for less than $100, requiring only a few mouse clicks and filled-in blanks.