August 2015 Newsletter – Who Will Get the Beach House?
August means back to school. Summer vacation travel is complete for many of us so this may be a good time to tell a story. It may be painful to read. Don’t cancel your travel plans or sell your private plane after you read this story. This is just a reflection on an event that shaped my life.
My family moved from Tennessee to Florida when I was twelve. We lived in a wonderful coastal community. I have many happy memories of that time in my life. This story is about one family (I will call them the “Cleavers”) who lived in that community. Their daughter was in my class in school. The father owned a successful small business. They lived in a beautiful house overlooking the golf course and the coast. One summer the Cleaver family (dad, mom and children) flew in their private plane to their vacation home in the mountains. Their plane went down. There were no survivors.
The Cleavers’ house sat empty, dark and neglected for many months. I rode past it every day on the way to school. I wondered what would happen to all they left behind. I don’t know if they had a will or how the court settled all of their affairs. I did not know much about wills or probate court then. From my perspective time seemed to be standing still for the Cleavers. Eventually another family bought their house and I stopped thinking about them so much.
I never completely forgot the Cleavers. Their story reminds us some things are beyond our control but we have the power to choose how we want to live and the legacy we want to leave behind. Their story still motivates me to do my best when I am helping families with estate planning, probate and business succession planning. I am very thankful for the families and business partners who trust me to do this for them. I love helping families solve their problems and maximize their opportunities.