Monday, August 18, 2014

What's in a Name?

FILE UNDER: OFF TOPIC
After over six years of this blog, why the new name and redesign? When I first started this job, I was a brand new baby attorney working as a law clerk (attorney for judges... that's what my judges called us, so I'll happily use that definition), hoping to establish a probate practice once my clerk year was done. The blog was partly an excuse for me to dig into probate and estate law. Anyone who listens to me for any amount of time when it comes to "death law", knows I geek out about it and should console themselves with the notion that I have an outlet to get (most) of the geeky-ness out. Quite honestly, it's also a way to market myself. Even more honestly, at the time I started the blog I wanted to prove myself as a real-honest-to-goodness attorney. Hence the run of the mill design and even more run of the mill title and was stuck in the rut ever since. My stodginess was born by a fear of not being taken seriously.

Now that I have an established probate practice (heck, I've taught other estate planners how to plan estates that span the globe), I feel less like proving myself as attorney. More importantly, I've learned that "estate planning" is more than dropping some money to have an attorney create a will or a trust and thinking your affairs are in order. Estate planning isn't just a legal thing and just like managing your junk drawer, it isn't just a one time thing.

Hence the name: An Organized (after)Life. Estate planning is organizing (and continuing to organize) your affairs so that your loved ones can spend their time working through losing you and spend as little time as possible dealing with seeing a lawyer, going to court, organizing your documents, dealing with your creditors, planning your funeral, trying to see eye-to-eye with each other, etc. While not as fun to look at as an organized closet or color coded folders in a drawer (not only am I a law geek, but I think looking at an organized closet is fun!), it'll be one of the best gifts you can give to your loved ones. I hope my posts will get you to think about how your stuff should be organized. That your "after", after meeting with an attorney, pre-planning your funeral, working with a financial planner, works better than what it would have had you been hit by a bus "before" and that doing this doesn't become an "after"thought that gets put on the back burner until it doesn't get done at all. For me, organization takes folders, tags, post-its and color coordination, hence the non-esquire-esque/non-fancy-schmancy design.

I also have to admit that I've been influenced by other blogs. For a time I was the resident small town contributor to Lawyerist, a national law blog, where I was challenged to make posts authentic and interesting. I'm also taking inspiration from some unlikely sources for a "blawgger", home improvement blogs like, Young House Love, Manhatten Nest and It's Great to Be Home. Although these have been some go-to sites for lunch break perusing for a while now, it wasn't until recently that it occurred to me that the bloggers are personable, funny, honest... and still authoritative (or at least seem trustworthy about what they know). While wills and insurance and funeral plans may never be as exciting to look at as home renovations and design (honestly, I could stare at those design choices forever), if I can be as helpful (which I hope I have been) and a fraction as interesting (which I have assuredly not been) maybe I can steer more people to not let a fear of jinxing getting hit by a bus get in the way of taking control of their estate and (effectively) use professionals like attorneys, financial planners, accountants, etc. to properly organize their affairs. Thank you readers, for having enough interest to have been reading Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate when it was stodgy (click the link to see it in all its stodgy glory, but look in the archives on this blog for its content), and I hope you find the changes to be a fresh take on a boring (for many, but totally-not-for-me) topic.

(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mlebemle/3511330328/in/photolist-6mhub5-mQvnC-deSc8r-6Nkkq9-9vih9s-6atKnF-bnxxi3-22TEKo-gthiTp-66qVuM-881VoF-35ofCb-8bhsb4-6axVf9-9gE7jc-am4new-6atLS2-8bhrX8-6axTqb-68e5F9-rfpdb-4y5u3c-4a9Ghu-xq1Kn-ak4YeC-5qCStD-747jS9-dNMDQb-djU3ad-ak2bTZ-dNMDNJ-4Ts5f8-5NZN1r-anqcbk-dNMDKu-4sUww6-emDrqB-4WiZj-4FkDGp-6LgmJ2-5RYruC-689jpt-4ExMSU-3dGYGL-6RxFG5-FXw2B-98ssPo-o44Kx-ant1UG-68dgoJ
Thanks Emily Rose for allowing creative commons 2.0 use of your pic!)