The Last Lecture

An integral aspect of estate planning involves passing on the wisdom of your life. Client's often hear us remark that we liken the extensive list of detailed instructions to their family, heirs, and helpers to "babysitter instructions". What do we mean? When Bernie's children were younger, when he and his wife went out of town his in-laws often pitched in to watch them. However, before they went, his wife spent a great deal of time writing what we affectionally called the "babysitter instructions", detailing who goes where, when and for what activity.

Why do you think Bernie’s wife did this? Well, simply she cared about their children. She did this knowing full well that they are more than likely going to return safely from their trip. Why then would we not want to spend as much time giving our helpers and family specific information in our estate plan when we have no realistic hope of being able to communicate with them when we're gone? A good estate plan is going to address this challenge.

With the above in mind, our practice has been oriented toward seeking solutions to facilitate this communication to our clients' family and helpers. For example, we invited StoryCorps, based out of New York, to speak at a LifeBuilders™ Membership Meeting to help facilitate our clients preserving their own personal oral history of their family for future generations. We continue to look for new opportunities to continue raising this subject. For instance, the book “the Last Lecture” became headline news after Dr. Randy Pausch, a former computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, gave such a lecture after learning, at the age of 46, that he had pancreatic cancer. In a relatively short period of time, it became a YouTube phenomenon and the lecture inspired people to remember the joys of living and striving to reach their goals. Dr. Pausch had the audacity to take one of life's curveballs and remember what is important even though his prognosis was not very good.

So then how do you say goodbye? How do you share your love with the people you care about? Dr. Pausch in his Last Lecture, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", gives us his insight. He says:

So today's talk was about my childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and some lessons learned. But did you figure out the head fake? It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Have you figured out the second head fake? The talk's not for you, it's for my kids.

If you had the opportunity to give a last lecture, what would you say?

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