There is an old fable about a shoemaker who doesn’t have time to repair his children’s shoes. From my seat, we often see this playing out in real life.
Last year, we had a client who, as an attorney, really should have made himself a living trust. But he didn’t. Upon each review, I’d ask “What is holding this up? You’re a lawyer, you can do this yourself. You understand the trouble you’ll leave for your children without this. What is stopping you from getting it done?”
The answer? You might have guessed – “I’ll do it soon, I promise.” Sadly, he never honored his promise. More sadly, his children, for the last year, have been battling creditors, banks, courts and through it all have lost most of their inheritance to legal and court fees. We could not even help his kids as much as we’d have liked simply because we had no authority, without a will or trust, to do so.
My first reaction was “Why would someone put their family through this?” I was angry. But I began to realize, the anger I was feeling wasn’t about him or his family. It was about the reality my own family faced.
Since my divorce, I had taken a few minimal steps to protect my kids and Sarah. But really, if I had died, there would have been an awful mess for all of them. Mostly in regards to how to protect Sarah and the kids to be sure they received their rightful inheritance.
I was acting the cobbler. And while my situation wouldn’t have been as poorly done as the attorney’s, it left me in no position to judge him or any of our clients who don’t get this important work finalized.
Over the next few weeks, as I revive the blog and my writing, I’m going to share with you what Sarah and I are doing to take our own advice – the things we have done to shore up all these estate planning issues. Hopefully, it will inspire you all to review your own plans with us in the next few months. I want to demonstrate it isn’t difficult, can be a real gift to your heirs and can help relieve you of stress or worry that this issue, always on the back burner, is resolved.