As seen throughout our history, across different civilizations and time periods, we have always tried to preserve aspects of our humanity – be it pictures, songs, stories, photos, videos, voices.
One of the most amazing and relatively modern attempts at a kind of preservation came on a cold New Jersey December in 1877 when a voice came out of a machine declaring: “Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.”
If the significance of the scene is unclear, perhaps some context might help. The voice belonged to a man named Thomas Edison, and he called his machine a phonograph – the first of its kind to ever record and play back the human voice.
The phonograph captured and preserved a bit of something that was thought to be uncapturable – the sound and tone of a time and moment.
A life can have countless instances of these moments, each with its own sounds and meaning and importance. Some of these moments deserve to be preserved.
As we approach the end of December and the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season, a time when families get to share the past and create moments in the present, we should think more about other things that are also worthy of preservation, such as the thoughts, wishes, and choices of our loved ones.
Think of it as a different but equally important way of preserving their voice, only this way aims to depict and document hard-to-talk-about things like an end-plan for their person and property.
There can be many ways to do this, and in the past, we have gone over some of these ways on our blog.
But it’s never a bad idea to revisit the basics.
You can appoint a trusted agent or power of attorney that can dutifully carry out the planned out financial or medical decisions.
You can write out a will, which is a document states your final wishes. In a will, you write out what happens to your property after you are no longer around.
You can create a trust, which is a legal entity created to hold property for the benefit of certain other persons you name as a beneficiary. There are a lot of good reasons to have a trust, one big one that we’ve covered before is that a trust can avoid probate, which can be a headache.
So this December, if you haven’t had yet, have that conversation with your loved ones about the preservation their important choices and wishes.
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