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You Can’t Take It With You

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  1. You Can’t Take ItWith You Making Sure You-Know-Who Gets You-Know-What When You Go You-Know-Where By Levi S. Harris, November 2010

  2. You’ll Never See a HearsePulling a U-Haul

  3. Four Documents • Wills • Powers of Attorney for Property • Powers of Attorney for Healthcare • Living Wills

  4. Why Make a Will? 1. The Church says so. 2. Taxes. 3. Charitable gifts/Legacy Society. 4. Your clarity, family’s peace. 5. Say-so.

  5. Bottom Line: If you don’t have a will, the State of Illinois has one for you, and you might not like its choices.

  6. Yeah, But Why Now? “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” – Matthew 24:42

  7. What Should BeIn My Will? • A Christian preamble. • Disposition of your real, personal, and financial assets. • Provision for your family, pets, and/or friends. • Bequests for the church and charities.

  8. How Should I MakeMy Will? With a lawyer’s help!

  9. Aw C’mon! Why Do I Need a Lawyer? • This is complicated stuff, which is why people go to law school. • The law is constantly changing, which is why lawyers take 15 CLE hours a year to stay current.

  10. Aw C’mon! Why Do I Need a Lawyer? The risks of error are too great, and it’s too important. Lawyers will update you when the laws change, or regularly. If you do your will alone & mess it up, you have no one to sue, & by the time you find out, it’ll be too late to change.

  11. Bottom Line: Bite the bullet and get a lawyer. It might be the best couple hundred bucks you ever spend, and it’s worth every penny for the peace of mind. Check out Page 4 of your Life Planning Manual for more info.

  12. What’s a Power of Attorney for Property Authorizes someone else to act on your behalf for financial transactions and a host of other undertakings. Can become effective now, at date certain, or on incapacity.

  13. What’s a Power of Attorney for Property Can cease on a date certain or upon regaining capacity. If not otherwise specified, last until death.

  14. Do I Need a Power of Attorney for Property Unless you are married in a marriage valid in Illinois to a spouse you trust with your finances and property decisions, then yes.

  15. How Do I Make One? I have forms you can use. Speak to me after the give-and-take.

  16. What is a Power of Attorney for Healthcare? • Authorizes someone else to act on your behalf for healthcare decisions – surgery, treatment, medication, et cetera. • Can become effective now, at date certain, or on incapacity.

  17. What is a Power of Attorney for Healthcare? Can cease on a date certain or upon regaining capacity. If not otherwise specified, lasts until death.

  18. Do I Need a Power of Attorney for Healthcare? Unless you are married, in a marriage valid in the State of Illinois, to a spouse you trust completely with the decision whether or not to pull the plug, then yes.

  19. How Do I Make One? I have forms you can use. Speak to me after the give-and-take.

  20. What Is a Living Will? A document in which you can declare your desire to have death-delaying procedures withheld or withdrawn in the event you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal condition by a physician.

  21. Do I Need a Living Will? If you don’t want to be kept alive artificially or resuscitated when you are terminally ill, then yes.

  22. How Do I Make One? I have forms you can use. Speak to me after the give-and-take.

  23. How’s This Work in Real Life?

  24. Situation #1 Jacob and Levi are registered domestic partners in the City of Chicago. Jacob is listed as Levi’s domestic partner for insurance purposes with his job, and Jacob is Levi’s primary life insurance beneficiary.

  25. Levi’s Mom is his secondary beneficiary. On the way home from Chik-fil-A in Orland Park, Jacob and Levi go into a food coma, drive into the Des Plaines river, and die. Who gets Levi’s life insurance benefits? 

  26. In Illinois, it depends whether or not doctors can tell which one of us breathed the last breath.  Jacob’s parents and my Mom could end up suing each other for my life insurance benefits.

  27. Situation #2 Jane and her husband Robert are watching TV one night when a meteor hits their home and kills them both.  Jane has a son, Sam, by a previous marriage who is #2 on her list of life insurance beneficiaries, after Robert.  Jane and Robert have no kids together, and Robert has no children at all.

  28. In fact, Robert’s only family member is an estranged sister Ann who hasn’t spoken to him in two decades, since he left the Republican Party to vote for “that lecherous redneck, Bill Clinton.”  Who gets Jane’s life insurance: Sam, or Ann?

  29. Unless they have wills, it’ll depend on who took the last breath. If doctors can’t make that call, then Auntie Ann and Sam will have to go to court.

  30. Situation #3 Maggie & Millard are newlyweds with great jobs, a $500,000 home, two cars, two dogs, & no kids.They’re very happy, despite the fact Millard’s family thinks he married beneath his station.  Millard’s mother calls Maggie “that wench who stole my little princeling.”

  31. On a belated honeymoon safari, Millard and Maggie are stampeded by wiildebeests & die instantly. Who gets the cars, the dogs, the house, and everything in it? 

  32. Unless they have wills, Millard’s family could get everything and Maggie’s family could get not a dime – if doctors can show Millard took the last breath. If tests aren’t conclusive, off to court they’ll go.

  33. Situation #4 A beer explodes at Gay Pride, and the resulting stampede sends me to the E.R. in dire need of a dangerous brain operation.  Can Jacob authorize surgery? 

  34. Unless I've made Jacob my power of attorney for healthcare, no.  Jacob is no relation to me under Illinois law, so my Mom and Dad would have to make that decision.

  35. Situation #5 I am on life support, & doctors give me about a 15% chance of recovering without severe permanent brain damage.  My sister and Jacob hold out hope; Mom and Dad want to call it a day. What happens?

  36. Unless I’ve made Jacob or Sis my power of attorney for health care, it’s “Sayonara, Levi!”

  37. Situation #6 I am in a permanent vegetative state, and doctors say there’s no hope of improvement.  Jacob wants to let me go; Mom and Dad want to insert a feeding tube and keep me alive until the Rapture.  What happens?

  38. Unless I’ve made Jacob my power of attorney for healthcare or executed a living will, it’s “Even so, come Lord Jesus, because I’m like this until You do.”

  39. Change these hypotheticals to a married couple, and it’s more straightforward – if the couple is straight. A spouse in a legal marriage has power of attorney by default.

  40. Situation #8 Chubby has terminal cancer & tells his family he doesn't want to be resuscitated if his heart stops.  At one last Taste of Chicago, Chubby chokes on a slice of Giordano’s, he stops breathing, & his heart stops. His family members tell the EMTs not to resuscitate him.  What happens to Chubby?

  41. Unless Chubby’s healthcare power of attorney is standing there saying, “Let him go!” or the EMTs have a copy of Chubby’s living will on file, Chubby comes back to life and dies of cancer.

  42. Situation #9 After decades of marriage, Joanna decides enough is enough. She divorces Don but forgets to take him off her life insurance & pension beneficiary forms.  Don remarries a polka dancer named Helga & gets a nightly job playing the accordion at The Chicago Brauhaus. 

  43. Joanna remarries, too – a dashing Frenchman named Francois.  Ten years later, Joanna dies.  A mutual friend drives to the Brauhaus to tell Don, and when he hears the news, he dies of a heart attack. Who gets Joanna’s life insurance and pension benefits?

  44. “Roll Out the Barrel,” because it’s Helga's lucky day.

  45. Situation #10 Clifford dies at 87, five years after his wife Mary.  They had five children, 16 grandchildren, & too many great-grandchildren to count.  They had a farm & a sturdy old house full of a lifetime of treasures – Mary's quilts & doilies, Cliff’s tobacco pipes, books, antique crockery and furniture. 

  46. Clifford dies without a will, & his kids can’t agree who gets what. What happens?

  47. An auction at which cousins bid against cousins & sisters against brothers, & family members watch “Grandma’s hand-made quilt” or “Grandpa’s favorite rocking chair” sold to complete strangers who didn’t know Cliff or Mary at all but love these bargain prices!

  48. We AreResurrection People We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The Nicene Creed

  49. Bottom Line Our souls are in God’s hands, but we need to take care of our bodies, our property, our finances, our families and friends, our pets, and our church as best we can – with God’s help.

  50. God is a God of order. The first thing we read in Scripture is His ordering the universe by separating light from dark, land from sea, creating each in its place fish & fowl & beast & man. Wills & advanced directives help us reflect divine order in a way that brings peace & comfort to those we love & support to the ministries we cherish.