I write this for your benefit, and for your family, even though I don’t like the subject very much. Pay attention, please!

We recently lost to death a dear member of our church family, which always gets our attention. In addition to the grief we share, there are some practical “shepherding issues” that I’d like you to pay attention to.

Do you have a current will?
Do you have a current trust?
Do you have a current POLST? (Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment)

Do you know what these are, what their limitations are, and why you should have them or not have them?

Do you have any preparations at all for your possible demise or untimely prolonged illness?

Do you want your family to suffer not only your possible sickness or death, but also the potential legal hassles of probate? Do you know what probate is? Do you know why you don’t want it, and how to not have to have it?

The Nov 2012 issue of Money magazine has a terrific article on the dangers of abuse among the funeral-home industry, and how bereaved families spend so much money on questionable services. Do you have an arrangement with a funeral home locally? Do you have a funeral plot? Have you decided about burial vs. cremation? Have you ever heard of “green burial”?

Do you have a family attorney?
Do you have a financial advisor, other than a neighbor, or a child, or in-law, or someone who wants your stuff!!!????

While this looks daunting, it really comes together quickly and quite orderly once you put your mind to do it! There are wonderful professional people available to help in every area, and having a complete set of instructions and plans will put you at ease and save your family from potentially disastrous broken relationships.

Someone recently said to me that they didn’t care about this stuff because they would be dead, meaning in Glory with Jesus, and wouldn’t be worried about anything any longer. “Heaven is a wonderful place” the song goes. But for those left behind, dealing with what YOU should have dealt with, well, earth isn’t so wonderful this way.

As your pastor, I rejoice at the thought of doing your memorial service, knowing that you would be with our Lord. But I don’t want to have to face the family issues that might come up because you didn’t do some simple planning. Ok? Ok. And now that I’ve exhorted YOU this way, I know I have to get my own house back in order, and update a bunch of documents. Let’s get it done!!!