An Act of Love
by Pamelah Landers
Artist, Hand Analyst and Intuitive
In the early 1990s my parents called a family meeting with my 5 siblings and me, and my 3 sisters-in-law. Their purpose: to share the contents of their Living Trust and Living Will. And to let us know which one of us had been assigned which role.
A Living Trust is legal document like a Will except there are legal differences. I'm not a lawyer so I can't really provide that type of detail. You can easily research this online.
What a Living Trust provides, which is the act of love, is specific assignments of who will manage the Trust after one dies, and an overall choice of who the assets will be transferred to. For example, initially my parents had chosen one sister to be the Executor Trustee and all the assets would be divided amongst the 6 kids. That changed over time with life circumstances changing for us adults.
As all 11 of us sat around a large dining room table, I could feel this was an act of great love. Not only did they create a Living Trust to identify what happens after they died, we all knew who would be making choices and administering my parents' wishes.
The next great act of love from my parents is that it created an open conversation about dying - their deaths as well as other people dying. There is so much freedom that came for me, and unfolded over time, to engage in interactions about death with anybody who wanted to go there. I also have hand markings that provide ease on the topic of dying.
Both of them, then in their early 70s, were willing to be in the conversation. What a gift. I can't tell you how many times I had conversations with either or both of them about their deaths.
When my Mom died in 2019, there was ease of talking about it with her before she died. At 98 she was so ready and asking to leave her body.
She and I had many talks about it with support for her to leave. I told her multiple times that my sister, who had died two years earlier, would be there to greet her as well as family and friends who had already passed over. A week before she died Mom told me she saw her family on the other side. That made it easier for her to pass.
Another act of great love that came from this was a list my mother started, first with the 3 of us daughters. What did we want of hers when she died? Write it down. Right then the three of us said what mattered to us. We did some negotiations if two of us wanted the same things. The pro-active conversation created grace around asset distribution. This list was maintained for decades and changed as our life circumstances changed. And my brothers were later asked to make choices too. Then their wives and children were invited in more recent years. No fighting over assets.
Why am I sharing this?
I'm currently working on my second Trust. I had one when I owned a house in 2004-2007.
Now I'm creating a new Trust. That document still is legal because no paperwork has replaced it and it's not accurate so another one is needed.
What came up as difficult for me is that since I don't have children or a spouse, it wasn't obvious who would be the Trustee when I die. Finally, this week I was inspired to ask two very close friends to be co-trustees, both who live near me. It was a brilliant solution, to have co-trustees. They said yes. With different skill sets, they can work together in each of their strengths.
And I realized that the Distribution of Assets doesn't have to go in the Living Trust in order to form the Trust. By that I mean, specific items that individuals desire or that I want to give to them can be determined later. I was struggling with this for a while because I wasn't sure what to do with some of my assets. But now I have made choices. So, this week I'm getting the paperwork notarized so it's a legal document. There are other steps that follow.
I have my former Trust so I'm able to use the language from that and create a new one. I'm literally reading the words into an email on my phone so I can copy and paste it into a Word document.
Creating a Trust or even a Will is a gift to your loved ones. It's a huge relief for them to have instructions on how to distribute your assets after you leave the planet and who will be managing what parts.