From the cradle, I’ve been blessed with the constant influence of many strong women in my life. Wendy (my wife of 33 years), three daughters, my mom, six sisters, grandmothers and even my amazing mother-in-law have had a significant impact on who I am today.
Peace of mind for mom
Wendy overcame severe trauma during childhood to become a strong and loving mother. She was the primary breadwinner during the early years of our marriage, putting us through undergrad and law school as a Montessori teacher and mother of two young children.
This mother of seven and grandma of eight works on the ramp chucking bags at the airport because she thinks it’s fun, and it allows her to hop on a plane and visit her grandchildren on a whim. She’s cheerful, full of love, and forgives freely. How blessed I am to be married to such a woman!
Wendy and I have been raising minor children for 32 years. For most of those years, we’ve had a living trust estate plan in place. This gives us the peace of mind that if something happened to both of us, our minor children would be raised by those who we know would be best, not the state.
She also takes comfort in knowing that our assets would be kept out of court. It’s important to her legacy that money would be managed by someone we choose in such a way that would be a blessing, not a curse, to the children and grandchildren in whom she has invested most of her life.
Peace of mind for the children
My mom had just graduated from college and started teaching elementary school when she became pregnant with me, her first child. Dad had just started his first semester of law school.
It’s hard to imagine now, but pregnant women weren’t allowed to teach school back then (at least in that school district), so Mom was forced to quit her teaching job. They lived on Dad’s meager earnings, who played background music on the piano at the local Furr’s Cafeteria in the evenings after attending law school during the day. Mom chose to make family her career and never worked outside the home again except as a substitute teacher later in life.
As a mother of 10 children (yes, 10!), finances were always tight. Mom was usually doing something at home to generate extra income. She never lost her love for teaching and had tutored many students through the years. Christmas was paid for with dozens upon dozens of homemade cinnamon rolls sold at Christmas boutiques.
While doting upon her 49 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren in her later years, she also found time to tap into her adventurous spirit. She climbed to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, backpacked a 12-mile-long canyon end to end (including floating her pack through deep pools!), and hiked the Na Pali coast on the island of Kauai.
When we lost Dad unexpectedly, Mom began declining rapidly from Parkinson’s Disease. Anyone can imagine our heightened emotional state as we grieved for the sudden loss of our dad, while tending to the needs of our rapidly declining mom until she passed 40 days later.
During this difficult time, how grateful my siblings and I were that Mom and Dad had put their affairs in order. We knew our parents had a living trust estate plan and where their important documents were. We were relieved we would not have to deal with the court system on top of everything else.
We knew who was in charge of Mom’s medical decisions. We knew who was in charge of the finances. We knew what Mom and Dad’s wishes were for the distribution and use of funds. It was all spelled out and, the state had no part in any of it.
As estate planning attorneys, we get that sitting down with our parents and talking about things like disability and death is a hard conversation for most of us. We encourage you to push through the discomfort. Help Mom secure her legacy and achieve peace of mind by taking the first step – schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys.