Family Affairs: Traveling Plans
By Dr. Gloria Latimore-Peace
Presented by Omni-University
"…We are each others business
We are each other's magnitude and bond."
From the poem "Paul Robeson" written by Ancestor Gwendolyn Brooks 
Recently, a relative shared with me her concern about one of her adult daughters who was working on her Masters Degree in another country. Some of her fellow students had hatched an adventure and invited her to come along for the ride. The idea was to go to the bus depot, board the first availabie bus, and go wherever that vehicle was going. To make matters more "adventuresome", they would make no hotel or housing reservations, so that they would have to find a place to stay after their arrival at their unknown destination. And, as though that wasn't enough excitement for a lifetime, their intention was to repeat this feat every weekend throughout the school term.
Of course, the mother and father did everything they knew to do and said everything they could think of to say- all to no avail. It was-or seemed to be- clearly out of their hands.
At this juncture, I can hear the cacophony of voices declaring what you would have said or done before things got "out of hand" including the assertions that no child of yours would ever have given a thought to such wild ideas not to mention going along with those who had them. But, are your children really that different from their peers? Are they less likely to act on impulse and more attuned to planning? Are they accustomed to making both long- term and short-term plans and, if so, is it because you, dear parents, have set the example?After all, apples do fall in apple orchards. All that has been said with a very specific objective in mind but, before it is divulged, I think you should know that the foregoing anecdote was not only about the daughter of my relative- it is about you and I!
Yes, we are the ones who are on our way to elsewhere and, fortunately our arrival has already been taken care of. But, do you have your "departure" plan?
Are you preparing for your journey all by yourself or are you inviting your significant other(s) to join you in making them?
The advantage of "family planning" is that family members will know where everything is and what your wishes are relative to them. Thus, they will be able to make informed decisions as they go about managing your affairs. They will not need to go to the middle men, i.e., probate court, to get the State's opinion as to what is to be done with your belongings. The most difficult part of family planning is to coax some of the members, who have an aversion to the "T-word", i.e., transition, and to accept the fact that the Earth is not our home.
As quiet as it's kept, there are people who are in the for profit business of making "final arrangements ",i.e, selling goods and services. It's essential that you identify and make a list of the most competent, trustworthy, and reliable professionals available. This can be done by seeking references from people you trust - those whose recommendations come from experience rather than heresay.
Your family members, and/ or close friends should be equipped and willing to operate as your agents under these demanding conditions- grief notwithstanding. So do your research and make the wisest decisions you can. The executors of your Estate must understand that it is far more grievous to all of you to be exploited than to preserve the assets for which you have worked and sacrificed to accumulate. And even if there are none of any consequence, it is their duty to be good custodians of whatever remains. It is sad to note that every generation of our people seems to have to "start from scratch." This may be one of the reasons why we get deeper in debt the older we get. It has long since been time for us to consider what we want to have done -not only if ,but when, "something happens to us".
Depending on the way you look at Life, these discussions will be easier to have for some than for others. That may be one of the reasons that people leave their instructions in documents like Trusts, Insurance policies,Powers-of- Attorney, or Wills, etc. Other ways to transfer assets are to give your loved ones whatever you want them to have while you live or by making them beneficiary (ies) of particular property(ies). Although it's true that "you can't take it with you," you can take steps to assure that "it" won't be taken from those you want to have "it" because you neglected to make "Traveling Plans".
 "Paul Robeson" by Ancestor Gwendolyn Brooks in The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks.
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