3 min read
I am a lawyer. Specifically, I am an estate planning lawyer.
In my practice of helping people, I get to meet a lot of different individuals and families with an almost infinite number of unique circumstances. However, I find that there are certain elements in common that many folks share: They want better organization, a smooth and inexpensive transition, to save taxes, and to ease the pain and burden for those left behind.
In this complicated world, it is difficult to know where to start. That is where I come in. I guide folks, like a river pilot directing a boat through potentially treacherous rivers. I work with folks through the process from start to finish. I see families grow over time, experience great things as well as challenges. And, yes, I sometimes cry with surviving family members when their loved ones (and usually my client) dies. Death is difficult and even after almost 30 years of doing this, when a client of mine dies, I feel like part of me has passed with them.
I have experienced the pain firsthand with the loss of close family members over time. The first time I experienced this personally was with the loss of my mother. Before that, it was always a distant relative, friend, or client who I did not know very well. I progressed very mechanically through the process but never really understood the personal emotions involved until it happened to me. Then, I understood. Sometimes a wake-up call can help motivate us to greater things than without such an experience.
Prior to my mother’s passing, as the “family lawyer” and her son, I worked with her on her plan and organizing her affairs. She wanted things to be easy and fast and told me several times that I would have enough to worry about even if things were organized.
Fortunately, prior to her passing, we were able to assemble about 90% of what she had going on in an organized 3-ring binder, which looking back, was very amateur. However, she was a smart but simple person and did not want to make a big fuss over it.
Leading up to her death, each time my phone rang, I wondered if that was going to be the call letting me know she expired until the one day it was the call. I left work early to begin the journey of discovering what it meant to lose a loved one personally. I will tell you now, it is not fun or easy if you have not experienced it yourself; maybe, that is why the system does not prepare us for it during our school years.
Upon receiving that call, my mind was a flood of emotions and my body reacted in a manner that was not relaxed or natural, despite the fact that death was predicted in this case. I can’t imagine what folks go through when it is wholly unexpected and the shock to the system without any sense of preparation.
As a lawyer, I told myself to do my job and work through the process like I did with so many others. Driving over to her home where she passed, I did not know what to expect. Seeing her shell of a body there while waiting for the funeral home personnel to arrive to take the body told me she was gone. Something I took for granted my whole life had been taken from me. It was at this time that I knew the journey would take a course that was not a normal administration.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in this writing.
~ Robert Kabacy, Esq.
Lawyer and Author of About Me: Information You Will Need to Know When I’ve Passed
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