November 17, 2014: Why I Do What I Do
By LeeAnne, Nov 17 2014 06:55PM
That's what my son Elijah asked me the other day. Elijah is 11 and full of constant questions. We were cleaning up the house the other day, talking about random things and he asked, "Hey Mom, why do you like working with dead things?"
I wrinkled my forehead in an attempt to figure out what he was talking about. When I turned to look at him his nose was smushed like he smelled something funky. "You know, like wills and dead people", he explained.
To him, and maybe to most people, working in estate planning and probate may seem like dead things. For me though, I like to work with people to help them make decisions about life, health care, finances, and family matters. I told Elijah that its about choices, and sometimes the consequence of not making choices. A lot of times in life we have limited options: Do you want this or that? Here or there? Yes or no?
With wills and trusts, the options are as open as you want them to be, within legal bounds. Obviously a person can't leave their estate to create a meth lab or other illegal activity. But want to leave money to a cat shelter? Awesome! Give a gift to a kind neighbor? Sounds great! Let a relative live in your house so long as they need or want to? You can do that. Have concerns about how someone might handle a financial windfall? Set up a trust and let a professional take care of the money under your directions. Is there a special needs person in your life? Create a trust for them so that they can be cared for with your guidance. Do you own a business that you have poured your heart and soul into? Make a plan so that the business can continue successfully when you are not there.
But even more than that, I am part of the healing process for a grieving family. A lot of times someones death, whether expected or not, leaves a family in a state of shock and confusion. I am honored that a person lets me help them put the pieces of their life in some sort of order, to work out the details and be a guide during a difficult time. The probate process can be challenging and complex. I can't heal the broken heart, but I can help in other ways. That is a big part of why I enjoy my work.
Like I told Elijah, its all about choices and healing.