This article was inspired by a recent meeting with an estate planning client. It was the kind of meeting that reminds me why I love what I do for a living.
Florida Estate Planning with a Strong Florida Retiree – a Case Study
My client is a strong 80′ish year old woman who is extremely active and very self sufficient. She’s best described as a fit, smiling and rather spunky person…she has a personal trainer for gosh sake! Even more inspiring was her attitude and demeanor as we discussed her Florida estate planning concerns. I found myself admiring her for her pep and inner strength.
As I reflected on my discussion with her and my countless meetings with many others, it occurred to me that estate planning really does attract the strong of mind and heart. This is also why I have great respect for my clients and express it every week.
So the first reason that estate planning inspires the strong is because the people that pursue it are able to face their own mortality. I have talked before about dealing with “big people stuff” like taxes, insurance and estate planning. Big people stuff can be difficult to address and is often subject to procrastination and denial. It’s more fun to go paddle surfing or play golf.
Yet the vast majority of my clients not only have prioritized their estate planning but in doing so they have faced their mortality by looking it in the eye and smiling…this was a great line from Gladiator…one of my favorite movies. Having faced their own mortality, most of my clients seem to smile genuinely and appreciate the little things like the warm southern sunshine, gardening, and spending time with their grandchildren.
The second reason that estate planning inspires the strong is that they prioritize taking care of others. Although sometimes a life event such as illness has precipitated the decision to start estate planning, often times it is simply the client’s love for family or friends.
There sat my lovely 80 year old client proofreading her documents and jotting notes. When I sat down with her again she expressed real concern about how her husband would fare without her and how her sons (one in particular) would get along. I was touched because she was a caretaker and it was obvious that she has spent her life caring for her boys. Her family is blessed to have her, as most of my clients’ families have been lucky to have these strong individuals standing my my office on their behalf. Many of these people have been weak in stature at times and yet rock solid in resolve and full of purpose.
A third reason that estate planning inspires the strong is that these people operate with a larger picture in mind than just themselves. They have considered their legacy and the impact they will have for future generations and this is truly the essence of estate planning.
Having sat with so many individuals, couples and families doing estate planning, I feel a bit like Napolean Hill must have after having interviewed hundreds of the most successful people in order to find a common set of “success” principles.
The many successful people I’ve interviewed aren’t business moguls in most cases but are simply loving fathers, mothers, sons and daughters and the common thread is their stand out quality of inner strength.