Friday, December 26, 2014

Personal Shopper: Peace begins with Stodden Parker


From page A11 | November 25, 2012 |

Ah, the holidays. Time to gather ’round the table for memorable feasts with the family—accompanied by the serenity of sacred traditions, a cozy fire and treasured recipes. Without a doubt, these annual Norman Rockwell moments inspire.

Accordingly, there’s no better time to recommend the services of Laura Stodden Parker, a Davis attorney specializing in estate planning.

This past summer, my husband and I came to grips with the reality of middle age and decided to update our previous wishes which, at least from a legal perspective, likely resembled the original design of California’s 1980 reapportionment plan, which had been sketched on a cocktail napkin.

As it turns out, the wonders of youthful thinking go only so far.

Normally, I’m a get-‘er-done sort of gal, but as someone who knocks on wood — or punches a few holes — when considering my demise, scheduling this appointment was different. Excuses for my delay went something like this: mammogram, check; root canal, check; gutter cleaning, check; rat traps, check, and so on, until my doctor declared me too young for a colonoscopy. Finally, I had no choice but to set the date.

You can imagine my “disappointment” when a work conflict arose and we had to reschedule.

When the day finally arrived, I timed a sweaty workout in advance. Perhaps this subtle encouragement would hasten the meeting.

Unfazed, Stodden Parker thoroughly explained the value of our pursuit and, as she did, I was no longer anxious. Actually, her words were comforting. And empowering.

By the end of an hour, we discussed everything needed to establish a new will, trust and even the previously verboten health care directive. There was no sadness, nothing awkward and no Grim Reaper in the waiting room.

With a few small homework assignments, all documents were drafted in a matter of weeks, forwarded for final review, and then completed for our signature. Released from all superstitions, I didn’t even realize (at least until signing and dating the documents at our second and final appointment) that I’d scheduled the meeting for Sept. 11.

Seeing as how I’m not yet dead, it’s impossible for me to vouch for Stodden Parker entirely, but to date, she’s been plain-spoken, efficient, responsive and, given the value of the task, affordable.

As best I can tell, there will be no fuss about whether to intubate me, nor will anyone argue about the teacups — I’ve decided these things for myself. And if someone raises a stink, I believe my request for a provision to allow haunting from the grave will be honored.

So if you’re lovingly (or not) motivated to draft or re-draft your will after the long holiday weekend, visit or call 530-792-1559.

After all, peace on Earth begins with peace of mind.

— Heidy Kellison lives and shops in Davis. Her column is published monthly. Reach her at



Heidy Kellison



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