Estate planning is about making your own choices regarding your healthcare and assets before you’re faced with a situation that renders you powerless. Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer, recently made a choice regarding her health the choice to end her own life. After doctors told her in the spring that she had six months to live, Brittany moved to Oregon where the Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows adults with terminal illnesses to end their lives legally. According to People Magazine, Brittany posted a message on Facebook shortly before she died, which reads in part: “Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me but would have taken so much more” During her interview with People a month ago, she said “My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control. I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.” She has received both support and criticism for her choice but ultimately what matters is that she had the power to decide. Estate planning grants similar power by allowing individuals to choose their own destiny and prepare for unexpected events that render them unable to communicate their desires. People who execute estate planning documents prior to such events can ensure that their voices are heard and their wishes honored. They can choose what happens to them if they become incapacitated, who may make decisions regarding their healthcare, where their assets end up when they die, who may act as guardian of their children or pets and a wide range of other choices. Estate planning not only protects the decisions of those who sign the documents, but lessens the burden upon their loved ones when those documents become needed for guidance. It gives individuals power over their fate just as the Death with Dignity Act gave Brittany Maynard power over hers.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Estate Planning Presentation On May 20th, 2014, at 5:15pm Ruth Emily Vogel will be making a presentation on Estate Planning at Union Bank in Ballard. The presentation is in conjunction with a business consultant who will speak on the 12 deadly sins of cash flow. If you’d like to attend please contact David Bruder at Union Bank, 206.228-1942, or


Easter is this Sunday, Passover began Monday night, and signs of spring are everywhere. Parents who are divorcing, or married for that matter, struggle with how to share their religious beliefs with their children. When parents have different beliefs the problem is magnified. When parents have different beliefs and then divorce it can be a challenging situation. In ages past, cultural norms would have children follow the father’s religion, or the mother’s religion. When parents divorced then typically the parent with “custody” or the “primary residential parent” was allowed to direct the children’s religious education and experience. That has changed. Now courts are more likely to rule that the children will follow the religious practice of the parent they are currently with. In a religious version of ‘love the one you’re with’ each parent can take the child to their church, or synagogue or pagan festival so long as it is during their residential time with the child. Eventually all children must be allowed to choose their own belief system and religious practice (welcome to the teenage years). As is all co-parenting issue, mutual respect is the key to success.


Call me crazy, but I think the Northwest is the best place on earth to live, work and play. So while I was watching the “Legion of Boom” it occured to me how our whole region deserves recognition. We have natural beauty and resources, diverse economies and a level of caring and teamwork that is unique. Thank you for being part of what makes our region so wonderful!