Finding How to Live

An estate planning office can sometimes feel a lot like it’s all about the logistics of death: who gets what and how, who gets to make decisions, where things are kept, etc. But at our office, we enjoy helping clients with the process because we know that every estate plan is more about a personal or a family story, and we encourage our clients to include those stories with the other things they leave behind. As people travel the journey of life, they have so much life experience and wisdom to share (even if they may not  always consider it wisdom themselves), and most children or grandchildren—although they may not know how to ask—want to hear and learn those stories.

Now there’s a book that helps people learn how to share. It also teaches us just how valuable the wisdom of the elderly is, and how fun it can be to grow old gracefully. The book is How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford. In it, Alford tells the story of his own search for wisdom and the interviews he conducted trying to find it; along the way he relates the sometimes funny, sometimes touching, but always enlightening stories of the people he interviewed. 

When you sit down to update your estate plan with an attorney, think not only about how to pass on your assets, but also how to pass on your unique family stories, wisdom and value. After all, the silver may go back to your great-grandmother, but the story behind it is what makes it such a valuable family heirloom.