Keep Your Fork!

Fork-554064_640 (1)There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things ‘in order,’ she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly..

“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork.” It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”
“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder… “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.”

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about
what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.
Share this to everyone you consider a FRIEND… and I’ll bet this will be a message they do remember, every time they pick up a fork!

And just remember … keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come! ~ Author Unknown


A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell

Puppy-4234435_640A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard.

As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.

“I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.

Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up…

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.

Looking back up at the farmer, he said:“You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.“How much?” asked the little boy…

“No charge,” answered the farmer…There’s no charge for love.

Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Soul


Should we get married?

Couple-260899_640 (1)At Bellomo & Associates we practice only estate planning and elder law. Many of our clients are older. Often, two people get together later in life either because of a death or divorce, and they have been together for years but never married.

At some point they start to discuss whether or not they should legally get married or simply stay dating and not formalize the relationship. In such cases, they will often ask us for legal advice on this. There are so many factors that go into a decision like this, starting with do they actually want to be married or are they asking the question for another reason.

For example, often people come into my office asking if it makes sense financially. Rarely am I asked or told about how much they want to get married for the sake of love.

When making this decision, a few of the factors that they should consider would be the fact that if one of them entered a nursing home, if they are married the assets of both spouses would be counted for Medicaid qualification; even if they have a prenuptial agreement, the assets of both spouses will count.

Furthermore, if one spouse dies and they are not married and they want the assets to go to the other person, since they were not legally married the Pennsylvania inheritance tax rate would be 15%, as opposed to zero if they were married, the inheritance tax would be zero under Pennsylvania law.

There are also other factors to consider, such as children to previous marriages and how do you want the assets to be distributed – either to your spouse or to your children, or in a trust for your spouse with the remainder to your children, or some combination of these options.

There are certainly other considerations such as Social Security and financial planning. The main thing that I always tell our potential clients is to certainly do what your heart tells you to do, but make an informed decision, understanding full well that there can be inheritance tax and other long-term care implications that you may not have thought about, but which you will need to consider.

Join us for one of our upcoming workshops about estate planning and get your planning done once and for all in 2020!  Just click here to find the day and time that works best for you.  We’ll see you soon!