Lee Law April 2019

A New Perspective on Stress Lee Law News

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April 2019

We work with a lot of people who are dealing with incredibly stressful situations. When a loved one dies, the surviving family is often left with many questions, even when an estate plan is in place. Of course, many people don’t have a complete plan — or any plan — and that can lead to an immense amount of uncertainty. It’s like trying to navigate in the middle of a lake under a starless sky. You know the shore is out there, you just don’t know which way to go. April is Stress Awareness Month, so of course this is a good time to talk about it. Many people shoulder the burden of stress without really dealing with it, which is unhealthy in a lot of ways. Stress can take a major toll on the body. While I’m a lawyer and not a doctor, a large part of what I do helps to alleviate the stress our clients are going through. We walk them through the probate process, for instance. Tackling this one issue is like crossing that proverbial dark lake, and I don’t want people trying to navigate without some kind of light to guide them. In this case, we make sure they’re ready for all of their upcoming deadlines and have all the necessary documents in place — including anything else the court needs. Most people think about estate planning occasionally but usually don’t take steps to see everything through to the end; they’re quickly overwhelmed by the process and all the work that goes into defining the estate. Fortunately, going through these processes ultimately results in your peace of mind. It may look daunting at first, and it may be an immense source of stress, but when you’re working with a professional, you walk away knowing everything is in place.

know that your children are taken care of, and your family is protected.

A lot of basic needs are just barely met. Here in the U.S., I can easily drive to the store when I need something, or I can order virtually anything online on a whim. These things aren’t possible in Cuba. When I returned to the U.S., many of the things that had been stressing me out seemed almost trivial. While stress can come from all sides, it sometimes helps to find a new perspective. Finding that perspective may mean traveling to a faraway destination, or it may simply mean asking someone for help — finding the light to be able to cross your own dark lake.

There’s also elder law: As we age, we have to make major decisions about our long-term care. Some people can live independently for many years before needing any kind of care. Others do need, or prefer, assistance. Figuring this out can be stressful. But that’s why we’re here — to alleviate that stress and to put things in perspective. The right perspective can give us an entirely new outlook on the sources of our stress. For example, my sister, Norma, and I traveled down to Cuba. The country is wonderful, the people are vibrant, and the culture is just amazing. But there are many important distinctions between Cuba and the U.S. For one, I wouldn’t have a job there — there is no formal estate planning in Cuba. More than that, though, is what people don’t have there.

-Melanie M. Lee

With proper estate planning, you don’t have to worry where your assets will end up. You’ll

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