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February 04, 2020

Count on These Two Things

Benjamin FranklinCount on These Two Things

By: Pam Lamberger

Back in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jen-Baptiste Le Roy, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We revere Franklin for his apt idioms and this one is no exception. Though a somewhat odd pairing of topics, it seems timely to consider them both as we attempt to organize for 2020 and gather paperwork to complete the annual assessment of taxes for Uncle Sam.

Taxes: Your library offers a limited supply of Federal and State tax forms, with additional information posted online for the Federal return here, and for the state return here. We can also print less common forms and instructions for you for 10 cents per page. Noblesville Library hosts the AARP tax prep volunteers every Tues., Wed., and Thurs. morning, Feb. 4 – April 9. This extremely popular service is offered first-come, first-served from 9:30 AM – 1 PM. Be sure to bring your Social Security Card, your current photo-ID and last year’s tax returns along with supporting paperwork for 2019.

Death: As I recently prepared to update my will and to document final wishes, I was inspired to do some research and educate myself about death, dying, and final arrangements. The choices one can and should make ahead of time can be daunting and difficult to consider. However, making those decisions in advance rather than at a time of crises is prudent and preferable to ignoring the inevitable. Your loved ones will surely appreciate knowing your preferences as they handle your final affairs. Think of it as a final gift to ease their grief at losing wonderful you!

Consulting an attorney for such matters is the best way to go but free resources are available for those who prefer the do-it-yourself route. For access to legal forms, visit the HEPL homepage and select Online Databases under the Services drop-down. Select the A-Z listing of databases, then choose Legal Forms for Indiana. You can select from a variety of Wills that are tailored to your situation. Look under Power of Attorney, for Advance Directives, Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate Orders. It is important to select from among the forms carefully so you choose ones that are appropriate for your personal life-circumstance.

Listed below are some library titles that I found helpful, interesting, even entertaining as I worked through my learning process.

  • The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) on Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World by Dan Morhaim, M.D.
  • Will the Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty
  • Living at the End of Life: A Hospice Nurse Addresses the Most Common Questions by Karen Whitley Bell
  • The Complete Guide to Planning Your Estate in Indiana by Linda C. Ashar
  • Estate Planning Basics by Denis Clifford
  • What Matters Most by Chanel Reynolds

Web-based Resources:

8 Tips for Funeral Planning: How To Make Smart Decisions and Arrangements by Leanne Potts

Your Conversation Starter Kit: When it Comes to End-of-life Care, Talking Matters

Funeral Consumers Alliance: FAQ Pamphlets

Advance Directives: Your Right to Decide: Indiana State Department of Health

Five Wishes: Advance Care Planning for You and Your Loved Ones