Do you think that estate planning is important? A priority? I think we can all agree it’s necessary, but the follow-through isn’t there. That’s why episode 37 of the Positively Living Podcast is about estate organizing!
In this episode of the Positively Living Podcast, Eileen Moynahan and I are sharing the importance of Estate planning and how the effects go beyond the paperwork. We also discuss actionable steps you can take to have these hard conversations with your loved ones.
According to a survey by Caring.com, in the last three years alone, the number of Americans preparing wills has dropped from almost half to about a third. The drop is even greater for older adults, which seems counterintuitive as that is when you’d expect to need it more. Maybe we know these things are important, but we’re missing WHY. And I know death is not a subject people want to talk about, either, but it’s an inevitability of life that leaves us with much to process. It’s better to lean in now, than to wait, which only adds to your burden. I know this topic is not only tough but can also be rather dry. Thankfully my guest today brings a sense of humor and a professional organizer’s focus to the task and we offer you a conversation that encourages you to plan for the future in a way that will benefit you so much financially and emotionally.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. Today’s episode of the Positively Living Podcast covers that in a big way and focuses on another tender topic..another deep topic…another awkward topic. But if you’ve listened to the podcast before, you know I do awkward well..or at least I’m good with it. And my delightful guest, Eileen Moynahan, is too. She knows how to navigate the conversation of death in the best way, with determination, humor, and compassion.
Eileen Moynahan enjoyed a long career with the federal government as an intelligence analyst working international criminal investigations before relinquishing her biweekly paycheck to open Legacy Estate Organizing, LLC in 2016. An estate-administration business, Legacy Estate Organizing partners with the executor and the estate attorney to administer your loved one’s estate. Eileen loves to educate people about the need for quality estate planning (before death) and compassionate estate administration (after death). Eileen grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Washington, DC; France; Panama; Canada; and currently upstate New York. She is the author of “After the Funeral: A Practical Memoir for Administering Your Loved One’s Estate” (2019).
She and I met because we’re both in the organizing industry and we both decided to attend an annual conference of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals. We instantly bonded over how we were both organizers who were a little “different” — non-traditional I suppose — and we realized that it was a significant personal loss that had led us there. We both turned grief into giving and we both understood why. I’ve kept in touch with her for years and am truly honored that she agreed to join me today to talk about what she does and to help us figure out what we can do to prepare for death in a way to makes the most of life.
Estate planning and the effects of it go way beyond the paperwork and that’s what we discuss today. We cover the benefits of being organized, which applies to all aspects of life, and how that allows us to be fully present to grieve and to love. We discuss how having those awkward conversations can make a huge difference in preparing for the future and we both share significant stories from our own lives that offer examples of how planning changes your experience. You may hear a shake in my voice as I share a loss I experienced shortly before our recording. It wasn’t easy to find the right words, but I think that illustrates the point of how complicated a time is after a loved one’s passes and how important it is to be as organized as possible before.
Eileen and I cover a variety of ways to start estate planning including finding an estate attorney, signing documents such as health care proxies, or even exploring options like a burial trust. But the simplest first step is a conversation. I didn’t say easy..but it is an effective first step. We have an opportunity now to find out preferences and figure out ways to honor legacies. That’s a huge part of healing and a gift you give yourself and your family. Whichever step you take, don’t let perfectionism bog you down. Small shifts can make a big difference.
As you can imagine, grief and trauma play a big part in this discussion. I recommend listening to Episode 14 “How we Grow through Grief” and Episode 29 “Trauma-Informed Life” as a companion to this conversation. You may also want to listen to Episode 7 The Impact of Stress and How to Manage if for Good.
If you are ready to do some estate planning…whether for yourself or to help your loved ones but you’re feeling uncertain, I recommend contacting Eileen directly. She offers consulting sessions and can provide you with many resources. It’s a great way to figure out what you will need and decide what to start with that makes sense for you. I also recommend her book “After the Funeral: A Practical Memoir for Administering Your Loved One’s Estate”. It’s a quick and entertaining read — I know that sounds strange but trust me when I say this — and it gives you details about what she experienced and guidelines on what you need to consider.
Thank you for listening! Be sure to tune in to all the episodes to receive tons of practical tips to create space for what really matters in your life
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CONNECT WITH EILEEN MOYNAHAN:
CONNECT WITH LISA ZAWROTNY:
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Episode 14 – How We Grow Through Grief with Katie Rössler
Episode 29 – Trauma-Informed Life with Mallory Jackson
Episode 7 – The Impact of Stress
Music by Ian and Jeff Zawrotny