What if … 2 part interactive workshop for Boston South Shore LGBT Community

 

I am SO excited to be offering this very exciting 2 part workshop in collaboration with my church, the United Church of Christ in Norwell, MA, who is sponsoring and hosting the event. We are an open and affirming church, and feel that the local LGBT community is sometimes underserved, so are inviting the LGBT community specifically to this event. Please spread the word to all who may be interested in attending.

Please feel free to share by email or on Facebook, Twitter or any other of your favorite social media channels.

What if … interactive Workshop

Monday evenings April 20 and April 27, 6:30-8pm
United Church of Christ, Norwell
460 Main Street, Norwell, MA
(Offered to the South Shore’s LGBT community)
$10 registration fee

Sponsored by the Community Engagement Fund, UCC Norwell

WHAT IF something unexpected were to happen to you? Would your family or trusted friends know about your finances, who to contact, your important documents, (do you have your important documents in place??) final wishes, family medical history? Please join us for a two part interactive workshop offered to the South Shore’s LGBT community that will help you give your loved ones the most precious gifts of all: preparedness and peace of mind. Workshop attendees will discuss these important issues and be led through the steps of filling out the What if … Workbook, a fill in the blank organizational guide created by Scituate author and facilitator Gwen Morgan, inspired by her work with hospice, the elderly, and personal experience. We will discuss finances, contacts, documents, final wishes, family medical history, legacy, and much more! Each participant will take home a filled in Workbook that one day will help your loved ones ensure that your affairs are in order and your final wishes are honored and respected. Light refreshments will be served. Procrastinate no more! Give the Gift of Preparedness to your loved ones.

For more information and to register, please contact Gwen Morgan at 781-210-2045, or email whatifworkbook@comcast.net To pay the $10 registration fee by credit card or Paypal, please visit www.whatifworkbook.com, go to Events, select the first Workshop on the April 20 date, and follow the instructions. To register by check, please send your $10 check to: Gwen Morgan, 175 Judge Cushing Road, Scituate, MA  02066.

The opportunity to make crucial decisions BEFORE a crisis happens!

Happy Valentine’s Day … the day of love!

 

I would like to introduce my friend and colleague Kat Ogar, the proud owner of Infinite Health and Wellness. It is Kat’s mission to help us all have good health in body, mind and spirit. I received her newsletter yesterday and found it full of such great information that I wanted to share it here on my blog. (yes .. Kat gave me her permission!) Please click this link to view the newsletter.  http://app.getresponse.com/archive/kat/My-Top-Tips-for-Keeping-the-Heart-Fires-Burning-108411201.html?e=&u=SjxGl

First of all, she gives fabulous advice about good communication between partners. It is so simple yet so profound. My hubby and I went out for a ‘day before the storm’Valentine dinner last night and I shared with him her ‘reframing’ advise. It was very well taken and I look forward to using it from now on when things get ‘testy’ between us. Her reminders of appreciation and flirtation   can never be said enough … after almost 32 years of marriage, I know that I certainly need these reminders. Good stuff!

Kat is newly venturing into the world of Essential Oils, which offer a wonderful way to add to good health. She is offering an invitation to an event to learn more about the magic of Essential Oils and how they can help a variety of health issues.

Her recipe for a healthy Chicken Tamale Pie looks incredible … I certainly plan on giving it a try!

I had never heard of the Clean Sweep Program, but it looks like a fabulous self evaluation tool. I have already printed it out and am ready to get started!

Thank you Kat, for your informative newsletter! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your husband .. he is one lucky man!

www.YourInfiniteWellness.com ~ 617.678.4088

Wonderful program offering in Whitman, MA

 

Happy New Year!

My goal in 2015 is to be a more consistent blogger! Since I started my work with the What if … Workbook, I have wanted to collaborate with colleagues who share my passion for advanced planning; those who also “create space” or offer information on how to think ahead, make good decisions … honor our lives!

I was thrilled to be invited to be part of these very informative events in Whitman, MA, offered by the Norwell VNA and Hospice. One is offered at the Senior Center, the other at the Library. ALL ATTENDEES WILL RECEIVE A FREE WHAT IF .. WORKBOOK!

See below for details … I hope to see you at one of the events.

ADVANCE CARE PLANNING SESSION OFFERS TIPS AND GUIDANCE

Workshops to be presented at Whitman Town Library and Senior Center

“Plan While You Can”, an advance care planning workshop will be offered at two Whitman locations this winter by NVNA and Hospice. The workshop outlines patient rights, the advantages and disadvantages of advanced care directives, and resources that can help people complete their advance care planning. Karen Gore, LICSW and Anne Marie Powers, PTA, CDP, both of NVNA and Hospice will conduct the program along with Gwen Morgan, author of the “What If…” workbook. The program is offered free to Whitman residents, and attendees receive a complimentary workbook.

Presentations are scheduled for January 14th at 10 am at the Whitman Senior Center and February 4th at 6:30 pm at the Whitman Town Library. For more information on the presentations, please contact Elaine Williams at Whitman Board of Health, 781-618-9755, or Anne-Marie Powers at NVNA and Hospice, 781-659-2342, ext. 413.  www.nvna.org

Alzheimer’s Walk, Plymouth, MA

 

My mom Fern was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when she was only 63 years old. She died at the early age of 70, not from the Alzheimer’s, but from stomach cancer. We were at the point when it was too much for my dad to take care of her at home. She was no longer able to dress herself or do her basic hygiene. To see my beautiful, dignified mother change so much in a few short years was heartbreaking. We began looking for a skilled facility where she could be looked after in a safe environment. About that time her skin and eyes began to take on a yellowish tint, and she was pressing on her abdomen, saying, “belly hurt, belly hurt.” My poor mother was not able to communicate her illness to us until it was too late. The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had grown to a mass that was pressing on her liver. What to do? Chemo? Radiation? The family decided to ‘let her go’ in peace, (thank God we all agreed with this decision!) and 7 weeks later, after a short stint with Hospice, she was gone. Was the cancer a blessing in disguise? In my humble opinion, yes. I have seen caregiver’s health fail under the pressure of a loved one with severe dementia, families torn apart, and retirement savings disappear for care of the loved one.

My Aunt Blanche also suffered from the horrific disease.

So it is my pleasure to be part of the Annual Alzheimer’s Walk in our area. The photo shows myself and colleagues who are part of an elder care collaborative called Resources to Remember. www.resourcestoremember.com.

Living Your Life Fully

 

Living in a coastal town (Scituate, MA) is such a joy … especially in the warm summer months. Here in New England the summer goes by way too quickly … it’s really only about 8 weeks of ‘true’ summer weather, unless we are blessed with a warm and sunny Spring or Fall. This summer I am very mindful of getting out as much as possible to enjoy all the things I love: bike riding, beach walking, kayaking, reading/resting at the beach, boating.

My What if … philosophy is this:

1. Get your affairs together in one location (hopefully using the What if … Workbook which will make it so much easier!)
2. Communicate to your loved ones that you have done so, and where the information can be found.
3. Live your life fully!! … knowing that you have given your family a true gift of preparedness.

What do you do to make the most of each and every day??

What if … Workbook in the New York Times!

 

 We are celebrating our 1 year anniversary of being mentioned in the Money section of the May 24, 2013 issue of the New York Times!! We would like to thank columnist Tara Siegel Bernard for mentioning the Workbook in her very informative column. The visibility was fantastic, and catapulted sales tremendously … locally, nationally, and internationally.

Please view the article here: The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You

Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

 

I would like to thank my colleague Attorney George Boerger of Boerger Law, Duxbury, MA, for including the What if … Workbook in his past newsletter.  Please read his blog to learn 7 key points to consider to be sure you are prepared.

From the Desk of George H. Boerger

As someone who practices estate planning, I recognize that many people don’t plan for the unexpected, mainly because most people don’t want to think about unpleasant events that may or may not ever happen.

I’m here to tell you that it’s really in your best interest to have a legal plan as well as a preparedness plan. And for that reason, in addition to having an estate plan, I often recommend The What if Workbook to my clients. This comprehensive workbook, written by Gwen Morgan, has been created to serve as a guide to assisting individuals and families as they put their personal affairs and final wishes in order (www.whatifworkbook.com).

I hope you will take a moment to think about how you’d like for your legal and personal matters to be handled. I’m sharing a recent blog post with you to help you get the process started. Then I hope you’ll call me for a free consultation.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

-George

P. S. Perhaps you would like more information about Boerger Law and my practice areas. Visit www.BoergerLaw.com for more information.

 Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

Tragic events, from the terrorist attack in Boston last year to the current wild fires in the West, have had a permanent effect on many lives. These events provide a vivid illustration of how life can change forever in an instant and may have caused you to think about what would happen if something unexpected happened in your life.

As an estate planning attorney, I see on a much too regular basis the aftermath of the “unexpected” and what happens when people are not prepared. Being prepared is not something you do for yourself, being prepared is something you do for those you love.

The following are 7 key points for you to consider, some legal and some just practical, to help you make sure you are prepared.

1. Who will raise your children?

If something happens to you, who do you want to raise your children? If you don’t have guardians named in a valid will, the Probate Court will make that decision for you. The Court may choose the same person you would but maybe not. Many times, the desire to designate who raises their children if they are no longer around is the motivating factor when I prepare a will for younger people.

2. What are your assets?

While it may be obvious that you own a house and a car, your other assets may not be as apparent. Do you have investment accounts, certificates of deposit, savings account in a bank where you lived 10 years ago, do you have 25 ounces of gold hidden in the rafters of your basement or did you loan someone $5,000. and then have them sign a promissory note to insure you are paid back? People are usually very confidential about their financial affairs and many times others just don’t know all of your assets. Having a list of your major assets is a very good idea. It does not have to be elaborate, just a simple list of the asset (e.g. savings account, certificate of deposit, bond, mutual fund, etc.) and where they are located would be extremely useful.

3. What do you owe?

Again, if someone is to figure out what to do if you are not around, having an idea of your legal debts is very helpful. Do you have a mortgage on your home, an equity line, a personal note you signed when you borrowed money from a friend or family member? You don’t need anything complex, just a list of your major liabilities.

4. Who are your advisors?

Does the person who will be handling your affairs after you are gone (or while you are alive but incompetent) have any idea who you go to for advice? You should have a list of people you want them to contact if something happened to you. Your list should include the name and phone number for your attorney, financial advisor, insurance agent, clergy, a business partner and anyone else you think they could benefit from calling.

5. What happens to your stuff?

What do you want to happen to everything you have accumulated when you are no longer here? Does it go equally to your children? Nothing to your children? To your spouse? To your barber? If you don’t have a will or perhaps a trust which directs how your assets are distributed, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has one for you. Making sure your property passes to those you chose does not happen automatically – you have to prepare by making your intentions known through a validly executed will or trust.

6. Do others know your personal stories?

There are many things about your life that others do not know which may be of interest to your family and friends. These do not have to be earth shattering events (e.g. did you know I was the first person to walk on the moon?) but can be uniquely personal. What is a question you wish you could ask a parent or friend who is no longer alive? On a personal note, I grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio that had a very old, large barn. I literally spent thousands of hours in that old barn milking cows during high school and college. I have no idea when that barn was built. My father would know, but he is not around to ask. I can’t believe I never asked him that question. What questions do you think people may want to know about your life but forgot to ask? You should consider writing them down in a journal to leave a legacy for those who follow.

7. Where are all the above documents located?

Taking the steps set forth above is not that useful if no one can find the documents. Everyone should have a file, a drawer, or a box which either has all the documents or instructions on how to find them. While no one needs to see the contents of this box until the appropriate time, make sure someone knows that it exists. A simple “if anything were to happen to me, you need to look in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet (or wherever your items are located) for the documents you should review.”

The above are some of the more important things you can do to prepare your family for an unexpected event. Gwen Morgan has prepared a “What if Workbook” that is an excellent resource to review. You can find out more information about the What if Workbook at http://www.whatifworkbook.com/.

If you are not prepared for the unexpected you should consider implementing the above steps; someday (hopefully a long time from now) your family will be thankful you did.

Happy New Year!

 

My New Year’s Resolution is to be better about blogging, specifically doing more collaboration with colleagues with the intent of introducing new ideas and opinions for us all to grow. Yes, the primary purpose of the What if … Workbook is to help people get organized … to initiate conversations about finances, securing important documents, final wishes, etc, and to COMMUNICATE all of this to your loved ones. But probably the most important message I want to ‘put out there’, is to live your life fully! I love finding articles that help me on this quest. Today I would like to share with you an excerpt from Steve Job’s June 12, 2005, Stanford Commencement Address, entitled ‘Follow Your Heart’. I hope that it resonates with you as much as it did with me. I found it quite powerful.

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ Since then … I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Your time is limited … Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition … Everything else is secondary.”

Best wishes for a healthy, safe and wonderful 2013!

- Gwen

The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

 

blog hurricane Sandy Scituate photo

I have to admit, I was feeling quite smug while reading the ‘Emergency Scroll’ on the bottom of the TV during recent Hurrican Sandy. (please let me add here that we were SO LUCKY to have never lost power at all during the storm … my thoughts and prayers go out to the residents and businesses that were devastated in New York and New Jersey. The damage truly was horrific) I live in the coastal town of Scituate, MA, and we usually bear the brunt of most major storms. This time we experienced some flooding, high winds, a wild ocean, but no major damage.

For the past 7 years I have been out in the community giving presentations about the What if … Workbook and what’s it’s all about, which is basically being prepared, getting your affairs together, written down, in one place, while being well and of sound mind and body … BEFORE a crisis happens. I encourage my What if … Workshop participants to fill in the Workbook and then put it, together with important papers, in a portable, fireproof lockbox that can be grabbed if something unexpected were to occur, like a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane! I suggest they hide it in an obsure place, but somewhere that can be accessed quickly. Why hide it? Because they have written down their banks, account numbers, passwords, usernames, etc. Information that you would not want to be found by just anyone!

So why was I feeling so smug? Well, smug may not be exactly the correct word here, but the ‘Emergency Scroll’ said, “If you need to evacuate, when you come to your local shelter please bring all your important papers with you: birth certificates, passports, social security cards, etc..”. So I guess I was feeling satisfied with the thought that if someone had previously purchased the What if … Workbook, filled it out, put the Workbook and all of their important papers in a safe container, then they would have been prepared, and blessing the fact that they had taken the time to get prepared … BEFORE the crisis!

Welcome!

 

Welcome to the “new and improved” What if … Workbookwebsite, and special greetings to our new Blog!

Getting one’s affairs in order and communicating to loved ones about our “stuff,” final wishes, and legacy, is often viewed as difficult to discuss.  But it is so necessary!  We hope to offer helpful and encouraging information to assist you in this process.

The purpose of this Blog is to communicate about various issues that arise from filling out the Workbook.  We hope that you check back often for useful information and helpful hints!  Topics that will be addressed:

  • The importance of getting your affairs organized.
  • Communicating to your family and/or loved ones that you have made some crucial decisions, written them down, and letting them know where they are located.
  • Filling out important forms (wills, trusts, health care proxies, durable power of attorney, advanced directives) while of sound mind and body… NOT waiting until a crisis occurs.
  • Final wishes: Do you want to be buried or cremated?  If buried, where?  If cremated, what would you like to be done with the ashes?  Do you want a blow-out party to celebrate your life, or a private family/friends gathering?
  • Encouraging dialog between family members/loved ones on decisions around these issues.
  • And, MOST important!  Living your life fully and mindfully, with intent and purpose!

Our intention is to share stories, resources, and professional advice.  We also hope to collaborate with colleagues who have an expertise in the above matters, who may weigh in with “guest blogs.”

We hope you enjoy our new website and blog, and look forward to hearing your ideas, comments, and suggestions.

- Gwen Morgan