Super Bowl Shuffle
While closing up the office one evening I received a call from a woman whose friend had recently been admitted to the hospital. She explained her friend had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and even with treatment she had been given as little as two weeks to live. She explained that her friend was interested in an estate plan so the following evening my assistant and I left after work to meet the woman. The cancer had made her too weak to talk so over the course of three hours I slowly explained to her what was involved with an estate plan as she weakly nodded in response. She was unsure about the contents of her estate and motioned to a set of bags containing all of her personal financials.
Her case was time sensitive because of her condition so my assistant and I worked through the weekend drafting documents and sifting through her financials, separating out paperwork belonging to her long-deceased parents, old phone bills, mailers, and the like to whittle down the property in her actual estate and ensure her homes and cars were titled properly. The following day, as my assistant prepared for our office Super Bowl party, I drove over to the hospital, documents in hand, and discussed with her what we had discovered and how her estate plan had been drafted. She had some specific requests and, though not difficult, they were quite unorthodox. After making her changes to the draft I returned the following day, Monday, with a finalized plan for her to sign.
It had been a rough day for her and her most recent treatment had weakened her substantially. Grasping the pen to sign had become a Herculean effort and, even with gentle encouragement from myself and her nurses to keep going, it took over two hours to complete the signing. Four days later I received a call from her friend, letting me know my client had passed. I felt for her children and family but was relieved for her children that we had managed to finalize her estate before her passing.
I share this story not to scare or discomfort you, but to inform you. Part of my mission in founding The Becker Law Firm is to educate the public. Movies and novels show us lying on our death bed, gently and peacefully bequeathing our property away to loved ones, but this is a dangerous perception for our modern world. Lying in a hospital bed, barely able to breathe is not at all an opportune time to plan one’s estate. There are a multitude of factors to consider when planning your estate: whom you want to receive your assets, whom you want to protect from creditors, whom you want to care for your children or your aging parents should you be unable to. Estate planning requires 100% of your mental and physical faculties and having an estate prepared ahead of time will protect you and your loved ones far into the future.
If you or a loved one are in need of assistance in proper estate planning, please do not hesitate to let me know. I would be more than happy to discuss the available options.
If you or someone you know needs legal assistance in another matter, please let me know. I would be more than happy to direct them to the appropriate party.
The Becker Law Firm’s focus is trusts and estates, business law, and mediation. Principal attorney Brian Becker is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ candidate, having passed the July 2011 CFP® examination. Brian opened his practice to provide professional, high-quality, personalized legal service in a down-to-earth manner. His work is tailored to the individual needs of each client in order to provide a comprehensive legal solution. Brian is also fluent in Spanish. To contact The Becker Law Firm, please visit www.TheBeckerFirm.com or call 404-590-7578.