When I started this practice seven years ago, I had no idea that I’d discover the work I devoted myself to would teach me more about love than I ever dreamed.
I’ve watched my fellow estate planners and mentors skirt the truth of our work, handily missing the most important aspect of planning for death. And that is–that our lives have meaning only in the context of love. Planning for our death only has meaning when we have loved someone, as much as we have loved ourselves.
A person hardly thinks of what happens when they die until they’ve built a life with someone else–a partner or spouse. Then the idea of leaving their loved ones behind starts to take some shape and weight. But it isn’t until we have a child that the stark truth of our mortality truly lands in our minds and hearts. And then, it can be SO POTENT a thing that we can’t bear to look at it at all.
Often people will attempt to deal with this frightening truth by intellectualizing it, pushing it up into the realm of the mind and head, where we can “handle” with it. We resort to relegating the idea of death to a set of concepts that we can wrap our minds around so as to not feel our terrifying fragility.
I’ve noticed there are two kinds of people (forgive me for this old saw):
People who believe that if they face something, it will not harm them;
People who believe that if they give something scary any energy at all, they will bring it upon themselves.
Mindful that we don’t want to feed the fear already in us, the reality is that death comes to us all eventually. In my work, I have yet to experience someone who has come to plan with us and promptly died (knock wood). And if knocking wood, or otherwise dispelling your fear of death with some ritual or ceremony is what it takes to get to a place where you can approach your estate plan with some equanimity, so be it! We’ll do that!
Even when people are ready to face their mortality and get a plan in place to help their family navigate a tragic situation, many leave LOVE on the table and fail to harvest the real wealth to leave behind for our beloveds. We fall short of the real relief we seek by reducing estate planning to a series of letters and numbers and papers and diagrams.
What brings us real relief in our worry and panic about leaving our loved ones behind is not a tangible thing. It’s not a plan. It is not a set of documents.
It’s making sure you have left a beacon of the love in your heart for the future to navigate by.
And this makes all the difference in the world.
For those of you who are our clients already, you know that your estate plan is your ‘intention” for an uncertain future. I go so far as calling an estate plan a “prayer” for our children in a future we cannot predict. We all share a common yearning–to infuse our children with love as the best fuel they have to navigate their lives by. There is no other currency but love, no other guidance but love, because love defies time and space. What you set in motion in getting a plan done has to come from the deepest place in your heart. And this is why it’s so painful to me to see estate planning done merely by letters and numbers.
An Estate Plan is a PRAYER for the Future of Your Family. Make it a good and thorough one.
This single notion is what built this firm and what keeps it going. It is a tremendous blessing to us to be able to create this prayer with you for your family. We invite you to see how estate planning does not have to be like getting a root canal. It can be enjoyable, empowering, rewarding when it’s done right. There is a better way. We’ve found it.
Let love flow,