Leaving a Lasting Legacy is More than Just Dollars and Cents

On November 17, 2012, I was honored to attend a performance at The Kennedy Center which was held in dedication for a client of ours who recently passed away.  While I personally never met this client, my work on her estate over the past 16 months has left a lasting impact on me.  From working with the Washington, DC police department to planning and carrying out the funeral wishes of our client, and finally the distribution of the estate, I have learned that the impact one leaves with friends and family reaches far beyond mere dollars and cents.

For 38 years, our client was a dedicated volunteer at The Kennedy Center.  During that time, she befriended and impacted the lives of many individuals.  I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with a group of her friends at the performance.  After listening to countless stories involving our client, I realized the lasting legacy she has left with all of her friends.  Charity is a powerful thing.  It brings people together from all walks of life.  This particular client donated 2/3 of her estate to charity.  The lasting impact those funds will have on others will be immeasurable.

As an estate attorney, my job is to assist clients in creating an estate plan that narrates their final wishes upon their death.  When a client passes away, the ability to affect ones final wishes as they would have wanted, can go a long way in helping friends, family and loved ones celebrate life rather than grieve death. There is no more rewarding a feeling as an estate attorney then for friends, family and loved ones to participate in the post-death administration of an estate and to tell me that the actions taken are exactly what the deceased would have wanted.  That was the case with the client referenced above.  Every step of the way, it was confirmed to me that this was exactly what she wanted.  She engaged in comprehensive planning that allowed us to honor her last wishes in each and every way..

What I want reader’s to take away from this blog is a better understanding of legacy.  Many believe that estate planning is all about the dollars and cents.  However, the most successful estate plans allow an individual to leave a legacy of honor, respect, love and adulation, rather than controversy over the cash distributions ultimately made.  Comprehensive estate planning avoids the common pitfalls that cause controversy over assets.  By taking the time and putting in the effort to create a plan, the only burden that should fall on loved ones is to remember their friend, loved one or family member for the good they have done.  Take the time and contact an estate planning attorney today to ensure that your wishes are memorialized in every manner you desire.

- Adam Abramowitz, Esq.

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