When I was meeting with a client several years ago to sign his Trust documents, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, he made the statement that what I do must be depressing because all I do is talk about death. My response was that what I do as an Estate Planning Attorney is very rewarding. As a matter of fact, I am uniquely qualified to speak with people about preparing for the inevitable and/or unexpected death because of my personal experience.
It was then that I realized why I do what I do. And why I am so passionate about Estate Planning. My passion is to protect people from having to go through the Probate process because of my story. My ex-wife was killed when our daughter was 8 years old. As the father my daughter automatically came to live with me, as a single dad. My ex-wife did not have any estate planning documents in place. There was life insurance in place and my daughter would receive social security benefits on behalf of her mom. Because my daughter was a minor I had to petition the court to be named the Conservator for my daughter’s assets/money.
So, as a single dad I am trying to help my daughter handle the devastating loss of her mom, the grief, moving in with me, changing schools and dealing with Probate Court. Every year after that until my daughter turned 18 years old, I had to file an accounting of my daughter’s assets with the Probate Court. Additionally, if I needed any money for my daughter’s benefit, like braces for instance, I had to petition the Probate Court for the approval of using the money. Needless to say the process was long, painful, stressful and expensive. And I am an attorney with knowledge and experience with the legal process for crying out loud!
Then when my daughter did turn 18 years old she had full access and control of all the money in her account. If my ex-wife would have had a Trust in place it would have reduced a lot of the emotional pain and provided better protection for our daughter. However,I do not write this to blame or belittle my ex-wife. Especially since I never told her she needed a Trust. She just didn’t have the knowledge. You don’t expect someone so young to be killed so suddenly and so tragically.
So, this is why I am determined to protect families from having to experience the emotional trauma I went through by helping them complete the appropriate Estate Planning documents to fulfill their desires.
This is WHY I DO WHAT I DO!