As a Grand Rapids, Michigan estate planning attorney, I consider it a true privilege to be involved with bringing added peace of mind to families throughout the West Michigan area.  How?  Through estate planning.  As a matter of fact, the most common comment I hear from client families is that they “have so much more peace of mind about things now,” or that they “feel like a big weight has been lifted,” knowing that their family will be cared for and their legacy will continue on if something happens to them. 

I think, however, that me sharing those comments with you may tend to get discounted or considered a side thought because I’m an estate planning attorney.  I can understand that.  So, I thought I would share a recent thank you email from a dear client (with permission).  It brought home the sometimes harsh reality of life and the peace of mind provided by a caring, comprehensive estate plan.  With not just permission, but her encouragement, I’m sharing the email with you.  I hope you will read it through in its entirety and forward the link to this blog post to anyone and everyone you know needs to take this important step for their family.  Please note that I’ve removed names and identifying items.  Here is the email:

Earlier today, the importance of having an estate plan and guardianship of my daughter was driven home for me. Our friend recently lost his sister after a long battle with cancer. She left behind 3 young children. She did not have an estate plan. Her children are now in the custody of their father, with whom they’ve never had a relationship. The father has no intention of maintaining a relationship with the children’s maternal relatives, forcing the grandparents to go to court for visitation rights. Our friend is in the process of establishing a trust fund for the children, but the father has not agreed to the terms. Unfortunately, this is only part of the story.

As I listened to our friend describe what his nieces and nephew are going through and the many things he and his family have to deal with, I felt such a sadness for the children and their family. It is such a horrible, heartbreaking situation. After my husband and I left, we walked back to our car holding hands with our daughter, and I was filled with such an overwhelming feeling of relief…Relief that our daughter will be taken care of by someone we love and trust…Relief that our parents will (hopefully!) not have to fight to see their grandchild…Relief that our daughter’s financial future will be secure…Relief that we have our estate plan done!

No parent wants to think about the “what ifs” in life. But because of you, my husband and I have thought about them, and we have a comprehensive plan to deal with them, and most importantly, our daughter will be taken care of. Words could never express how extremely grateful I am for you and all of your hard work in helping us complete our estate plan.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (A million thank yous!)

Although she thanked me, I wrote her back to make sure she recognized that the true credit was her and her husband’s.  Keep in mind that only approximately 35% of parents have named guardians for their children.  Only 35%!  It says a lot about these folks and each parent who has invested their time and their finances to make sure their child(ren) are cared for if the unthinkable happened to them.

Is it time to get your ducks in a row?  Call us at 616-827-7596 to schedule your Peace of Mind Planning Session!

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and charitable planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for “stuff” – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate, charitable, and asset protection planning for all generations (“young” and “experienced”), the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses, and pet planning.  He enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients centered on their families values, insights, stories and experiences.

IMPORTANT: Michael is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and has offices in Kent County. I am ethically required to state that the above information does not create an attorney/client relationship. These posts should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information the topic discussed. Frequently, differing facts about the particular individual or family, if known, could significantly change the recommendations made in the blog post. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.