Just hear me out. I hate estate planning because it conjures up the image of a bunch of stuffy, old lawyers sitting around a giant conference table, scheming about who’s going to kick the bucket next and how to divvy up the inheritance they’ll leave behind.
Ugh! So let’s draw the line right now:
There are two types of ‘Estate Planning’ attorneys, and they couldn’t be more different. From the way they attract and engage clients all the way to their impact on generations yet unborn.
The type of Estate Planning attorneys most people think of belong in the same category as the stereotypical lawyers at the butt-end of jokes. The kind nobody wants to invite over for dinner. The kind nobody wants to deal with for a minute longer than absolutely necessary (because they’re nickel and diming anybody and everybody in 6-minute increments).
They eagerly take as a client, whoever walks in the door. Sell them a plan they can’t understand, and then fail to fund it, update it or ensure that it actually performs for the family in their time of greatest need.
But let me tell you about the other type. This type of attorney is a lot more like a family friend who also handles the legal technical work of ensuring the families in their community have a solid relationship with their loved ones – and their legacy – that outlasts them for generations to come.
They serve their community by freely educating families who genuinely need the planning they provide. They do a thorough job of discerning the values, vision and needs of these families and business owners. They design estate plans that get funded, are kept up-to-date, and perform as promised upon death. And I am proud to count myself as one of these types of attorneys.
Estate planning, the way my camp practices it, would better be called something like “Legal Life Design,” or “Life Consciousness Development,” or “Family Legacy Engineering.” I wish the word for this legal practice area was something profound, intriguing, complex, bold, and intense. Because it is all of those things.
Here’s a little secret: Estate planning is a deep spiritual experience for me. My life becomes more fulfilled and connected every time I support a family through the process. Participating in their growth and family harmony is extremely rewarding. Plus, it’s a service needed by every parent in our country, whether they realize it yet or not.
It helps parents become better people – which in turn makes them better parents. And that’s where the magic is.
Estate planning is really an opportunity to meet oneself at the doorway between life and death. As an attorney, I get to escort people to that doorway, help them look back so they can see their accomplishments, their losses-the legacies they’ve built. I help them see the honor and dignity in their lives and bear witness to the essence of who they are.
Then together we look toward the future; their hopes, dreams, aspirations and vision for themselves and their families. Then I interject the worst-case scenarios and help them work through it all. It’s important work because the worst things that can happen are the only things that stand between their past and their future.
Then (and this is where the lawyer in me emerges), I help them understand the legal landscape and offer perspective on how things are versus how things could be. I give my clients a chance to choose the road their family will take if they aren’t there to guide them. Consciously, thoroughly, thoughtfully.
Fear lifts. Freedom enters. Liberation of heart and mind settles in.
And my clients are no longer afraid. No longer afraid to die, no longer afraid to live.
People tell me all the time that their experience with estate planning was nothing like they expected. They say they had no idea the burden they were carrying until it was lifted. They say they feel freer, clearer, more in love, and more alive. They come away from the experience more at ease and comfortable then they’ve been in a long time.
To help liberate another human from their fears and free them to live a bigger life. How sacred, how awesome, is that?!
It’s why I love what I do. And I would be thrilled to transform the way you look at estate planning, too. To guide you along the path toward ensuring your family will be protected and provided for, no matter what. To help you secure the peace of mind knowing things will be as easy as possible for your loved ones during the worst of times. To support you in living consciously, proactively, and fully.
If that feels right to you, call my office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. Because this is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge.