If an estate plan is our final personal and intimate letter to our loved ones, why is it that we can’t understand it when we read it? This last intimate writing should be full of our unique, personal and emotional voice, yet, it reads like a sterile contract, devoid of any human feeling or emotion. Why?
Historically, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Jewish traditions all included emotion and feeling in their estate plans, and in fact, each of these cultures expected it.
How did we come so far from heartfelt expressions to today’s trivial, routine documents lacking uniqueness or personal statements?
I think that three reasons exist. First, we bought into the notion from law’s logic that only financial matters are important in our estate plan.
Second, we rely on lawyers to write our estate plan for us, and lawyers, for the most part, discourage putting emotion and feeling into our plans. Third, we may feel it is too difficult to put our feelings into written words.
I believe that if we, as lawyers, are fortunate enough to serve as your estate planner, we must help you not only pass on your material wealth, but also provide you with the opportunity to express your unique, emotional and personal feelings, as well as your desires and messages to be left behind for when you can no longer communicate with your loved ones.