If you don’t know the story, and if you are considering an estate plan or an estate planning law firm to help you design your plan, you need to read this story.
It was, as Neil Diamond says, “A Hot August Night.” At the time I was working at United Missouri Bank in Kansas City. I left work at the usual time, around 6 P.M. A dear friend was at the hospital recovering from a bout with cancer. I stopped by to see him, as I’d done a few times each week since his admission. The staff let me stay longer because Charlie was in such high spirits. When I left him I couldn’t have felt better. Upon arriving home I told my wife, Darlene, “I’m ecstatic…Charlie’s decided to live again.”
Fifteen minutes later I received a call telling me my father was in an accident and that it did not look good. Ten minutes after the first call I received the second notifying me that my dad had died under a tractor in Northwest Missouri…on the very farm where my grandmother gave him life.
He died with no estate plan in place.
To some degree I felt it was my fault. Because of my encouragement Mom and Dad had started on their estate plan. But you know the rest of the story. They were busy. There were always other priorities.
Here’s where I made my mistake. At that point in my life I didn’t have the confidence or experience to look my parents straight in the eye and say, “Go get this done…now!” We paid the price for that mistake.
We fought with the IRS for over two years and endured a costly probate for nearly three years before the estate was settled.
As a result of that experience my dad became the inspirational founder of our law firm. It was that experience that made me want to help families like yours avoid the perils of having no plan in place, or having the wrong plan in place. My focus the past twenty-five years has been to educate, encourage, even inspire others to take action and protect themselves and their families from what my family endured.
These ongoing posts to the Parman & Easterday blog will hopefully contribute in a small way to that mission.
Visit us often for upcoming articles and comments about estate and elder law, business succession planning and other matters that impact our clients.
Give us your feedback and share your experiences with the estate planning process, whether with our firm or others.