By Marsha M. Brown
If you read my last two GIG LINE columns, it was obvious I encouraged everyone to at least consider taking steps to acquire a LAST WILL & TESTAMENT. Some may have thought the topic was morbid and I apologize if it did…but it is what it is.
We have all experienced losses in our life and while many make their intentions known through legal document, others strictly rely on family and/or friends to carry out their wishes. There’s a lot to think about a-h-e-a-d of time to rest (literally) assured that the burdening decisions won’t be lay on the shoulders of a grieving family but rather avoided; that precious loved ones are not left to guess your preferences, wishes or plans never carried out as you would have hoped while you were alive. A WILL is a clear, concise roadmap to what you want done and it can take tremendous stress off a family knowing your intentions are recorded as you wanted them to be.
When you think about it, there’s a LOT of matters to think about and address prior to our passing:
- would you prefer to make major decisions yourself in advance?
- would you choose to maintain your life if extendedlife support is necessary?
- have you considered being an organ donor?
- would you prefer burial or cremation?
- if cremation, where would you want your ashes dispersed?
- aside from family members, is there anyone you would want to receive some of your personal belongings such as clothing, tools, guns, hobby materials, photos etc.?
- is there a site that you would want your service to take place?
- if you are a veteran, would you want TAPS played at your service? Or a ceremony of Thirteen Folds of the Flag? Is there a former officer or ‘brother’ who especially touched your heart and soul that you would like to speak on your behalf? Or to offer your eulogy?
- do you have your DD-214 in a place where you spouse or family member could easily retrieve it at the time of your passing? It is a critical document required for a military service to take place and it must show that you were discharged under HONORABLE conditions. I know from experience in helping the widow of a deceased veteran a few years ago. When I called on her behalf to ask for their participation in her husband’s service, I was told that no service could take place with their involvement without their DD-214 showing HONORABLE discharge. Because the new widow could not locate it but that she had his Certificate of Discharge, I was told that would not suffice under any circumstances. On that particular occasion, the cut off was a 3PM that day in order to guarantee they could attend in Manteo…the DD-214 was located thankfully at 2:45PM! Please remember this: sometimes there are countless requests for active-duty service personnel to participate in a service all over North Carolina and beyond and they are disbursed according to the staffing availability and destination distance. It is “time is of the essence” when it comes to arrangements being made following a veterans’ passing…so please locate your DD-214, secure it but make it accessible to loved ones prior to the need for it. If you have misplaced yours over the years or it had been accidently destroyed, I suggest as a resident or original Dare Countian that you take the time to contact our Register of Deeds office (252) 475-5970 to ascertain if a copy might be on file there…if you are a more recent resident of Dare County, please call Patty O’Sullivan, Veteran Service Officer (252) 475-5604 and request a duplicate.
- V.A. Archives is a source for military records, especially older files and documents, however, COVID-19 resulted in closure of the Archives Office and even since things have started to improve, they are backed up, and short staffed (like everyone else these days). That being said, Patty (V.S.O.) suggested that anyone who might need to replace their original, to take the time asap to request one.
- also, a veteran can request it online through VA.gov/Forms or Patty said that she can request a duplicate for a vet and if they are already in the V.A. system with a service-connected illness, through Form 2122. Authorization to obtain it is the key.
- with all the attorneys who specialize in estate planning, it would be wise to secure legal counsel to ensure everything is in order as you wish, all necessary documents are together and that you designate an ‘executor’ of your estate…more to come.
Okay folks, this was supposed to be my third and final Part 3 on this topic, but…I have more to tell you, suggest and share so what originally started as a Part 1, 2 & 3 may wind up being Part 4 & 5…so hang in there with me, I have more to tell you. Please look for Part 4 next week.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! You have made a difference in this world and we’re glad you’re in it!! 😊 If you’re a veteran, thank you from the bottom of my (our) heart and God bless you and your loved ones. Call Patty at the above referenced office number – she’s the official V.A. rep in Dare County and she’s all about helping veterans and their families. And you can call me too, cell: (252) 202-2058 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org As a Vietnam veteran’s widow, I care about you…you are all heroes to me and I am proud of you…please stay in touch and call, email or text me whenever something is on your mind. As Popeye used to say…” I yam what I yam!” I say it how I see it…no fluff, no kissing up…straight to the point…and plain and simply…I love you all! Take care and stay tuned!