Builders for Eternity – Thoughts on Values Based Estate Planning

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and like many of you I celebrated with both my own Mother and my Wife.  I took the opportunity to tell my children stories of their Mother, my Mother, and my Grandmothers.  Telling these stories reinforced for me the power that exists when we share stories that convey our values.  I have been reading and studying quite a bit lately about value based estate planning.  Value based estate planning realizes that estate planning is not simply a one dimensional look at a person’s assets and the providing of technical solutions, but rather it is a method of estate planning that understands who they are as people and establishes an estate plan that reflects their values and tells their story to future generations.  Advisors who engage in values based estate planning help build a bridge from the mere technical to a more complete vision of who you are and what you view as important and the lessons that you want to teach.I am reminded of the poem by R.L. Sharpe:Isn't it strange how princes and kings,and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,and common people, like you and me,are builders for eternity?Each is given a list of rules;a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.And each must fashion, ere life is flown,A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.You too are a builder for eternity.  Does your plan create a stumbling block or a stepping stone?  You are so much more than just your assets.  Consider taking your planning to the next level, away from the one dimensional, into a higher vision of what you can truly pass along to generations to come.