Every month we get together and discuss a possible monthly client story to include in our newsletter. These are typically fun discussions that give us time to reflect, laugh about ourselves and of’ course discuss situations that estate and elder law attorneys see on a regular basis. Many of these situations come about because we have such close relationships with our clients. It’s almost like a family reunion, in the fact that everybody likely knows the best and worst of one another. As we all know, most of us aren’t living an Instagram life.
Story Telling is something we all can relate to and is definitely a current buzz phrase in business and marketing circles. As we listen to the stories people tell us overtime, the more we experience with others, their personal life events, even if we weren’t there in real time. Eventually, through these stories, we begin to relate to others and their stories, establishing emotions attached to these relationships through their experiences. This can be both joyful and heartbreaking.
The story that we wanted to share this month is about Gary and Vicki Matters, and it’s a story that we have a close relationship with and have had personal ties to for many years. Gary and Vicki married young and were fortunate enough to be successful both as parents and financially. Having a daughter and a son, they decided about the time their children enrolled in college, that it would be a good strategy to set up an estate plan.
When doing so, the Matters set up multiple charitable trusts for local organizations in and around Kansas City, as well as one for their children. However, as the children grew into young adults, things changed for better and for worse, requiring an adjustment to their estate plans.
After college, the Matters’ son Travis became a missionary. This would impact not only his finances, but also his parents’ estate. Funds that originally would have been distributed to him would now be donated to the nonprofit organization he was volunteering for. Additionally, the makeup of distributions would change, to sustain him during this call.
The sadder side of the Matters revisiting their estate plan had to do with their daughter Kathy. After an annual visit to the doctor following graduation, it was discovered she had pancreatic cancer, and was given a 15% chance to live for 3-5 more years. With her treatments and health deteriorating, she needed assistance managing almost all of her care and assets. She only went on to live 2 more years.
Fast forward 20 years and Greg Matters has somehow found peace with losing his daughter back in 1999. Their son is still a missionary and has seen more of the world than I possibly even knew existed. The Matters, who had their worlds turned upside down more than once, found solid footing, enjoying almost 20 years of traveling and doing some volunteer work themselves, on their own and alongside their son.
After nearly 45 years of marriage, at age 71 Vicki passed away. Afterwards, Greg lived on his own for a few years, but met a friend named Jeannette, whom he later married. These life changes were much different than some earlier ones that brought us so the table sitting down with Greg, but nonetheless brought him back to revisit his estate plan.
Some of the things Jeannette and Greg wanted to discuss were the decisions they needed make before moving into an assisted living community and how to ensure that Greg would be able to pass along part of his estate to his son. These decisions were meaningful to Greg and Jeannette, giving everyone peace of mind with how everything would be handled and taken care of.
Working with retirement planning and caring communities, one is familiar with the acronym CCRC, which stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community. While discussing our client story this week, we came up with a similar one for our firm, CCLF, Continuing Care Law Firm. This gave us a laugh, but a laugh connected to the realization that assisting people in making decisions requires an eagerness to listen to their stories overtime. Learning about what is important to them, their families and how to best align those values with their estate and elder law planning needs.
Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been serving Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Council with Proactive Solutions. Give us a call today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.