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‘Get your affairs in order so all you leave behind is love’

Former Richmond woman hopes to educate others about getting their affairs in order

JANET-KRAFT-WEB

Janet Kraft

By Liz Johnson/Staff Writer

No one likes to talk about death and dying. Consequently, most people avoid preparing for it. Janet Kraft, M.A., Ed., hopes to change that.

Janet, who grew up in Richmond and graduated from high school here, has not forgotten her hometown and recently reached out to talk about getting one’s affairs in order, “so all you leave behind is love,” she said.

Kraft’s father died of a coronary in 1976, severely impacting the family he left behind – his widow, 39, and four teenage daughters, three of whom were still in high school.

“We lived hand-to-mouth, so there were no savings nor investments to draw upon,” said Kraft. “It was a shock to discover that Daddy did not even have life insurance, much less a will.”

Kraft’s mother was able to get a loan to bury her husband, while Kraft’s sister handled all the arrangements.

“We clearly weren’t prepared. In the aftermath of the funeral, we were left scrambling to figure out the mystery that was our father’s life,” she said.

In addition, her mother didn’t know everything she needed to know about bank accounts, school loans, social security or anything else that her husband had handled.

Krafts father had suffered from heart problems for years, so the propensity of him having a sudden heart attack was great – but he had not prepared for that moment.

It caused a huge trauma to the family – one that still impacts Kraft all these years later.

“I was living in Seattle in my early 30s,” said Kraft, “And I was waiting for the bus one day when I got to thinking … what if something happened to me? What if I was hit by a bus today? My sister knew nothing about my life.

“Handling my estate would traumatize her. I love her so much. I keep my affairs in order for her.”

The complete story is in the Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 Richmond News.

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