Guest blog post from 2L Jeffrey Sodoma, Wills, Trusts & Estates student:
Every single person will die. It may be tomorrow, it may be today. It may be 99 years from now--but it always happens to everyone. What do we leave behind when we die? What happens to all of our trinkets, junk, valuables, and plethora of other humdrum possessions when we depart this mortal plane? And more importantly than the question of what we leave behind when we die--WHO do we leave behind when we die?
For some people in this world, the answer to the question of WHO we leave behind becomes the answer to what happens to WHAT we leave behind. The answer, for some, of WHO we leave behind is: no one. Some people have no family or friends at the end of their lives.
Recently I read an article in The New York Times describing the lonely death of one man in New York City. The article walks the reader through the tremendous amount of work that had to be undertaken by the City of New York to resolve estate matters of those who neglect to do so and leave no one behind. There are certainly many more like the man profiled in this article, scattered in cities and towns all across this country.
As a future lawyer hoping to protect individuals and families with the practice in Elder Law, is it not my duty to reach out to folks like this so that the state will not have to bear the burden of finding their next of kin? As Christians, are we not called to reach out to the lonely among us, so that people don't have to live lives without social contact, separated from everyone they love?
We all die. Lonely people without families or friends need my assistance, and I hope I can be a positive influence to lonely people who cross my path.