Wow, what a morning.
It started with one of our staff expressing her desperate measures to keep birds from coming into her house. Everything is sealed up; the windows are closed, the attic is shut, yet every now and then a new bird pops in and launches yet another quest to discover how it got in. It’s bad enough to have to deal with trying to figure that out, but on top of it, a friend of hers mentioned that it was some sort of omen, a bad one, and according to omen legend, it could mean that someone is going to die….
Here at Haas & Zaltz, LLP, we face life and death issues every day. Perhaps the most difficult are the ones caused by a lack of planning, a fear of having ‘the conversation’ about what should happen after the inevitable event of one’s death.
True, these are difficult conversations (see our other posts: https://www.haaszaltz.com/how-to-start-a-funeral-planning-conversation/ and https://www.haaszaltz.com/you-can-do-this/) yet it’s important to keep in mind the amount pain, aggravation and money that these conversations save our children and future generations.
Soon after the bird conversation a client arrived in our office, on the verge of tears. She had reached out to us yesterday – an only child, her father recently passed away; her mother is in the hospital and declining fast. She needed help. Quick thinking staff members figured out how to squeeze her in for a Zoom meeting with her and her mother in the hospital so her mother could execute a new POA (shout out to NYS that’s still allowing Zoom notarizations). Now the client stood in our office in a panic because the bank she consulted with wouldn’t help her out at all and she was completely stuck.
Our staff reassured her, sat her down. I went into the meeting room to offer her a drink. She declined and said, in tears, that she didn’t want the money. She didn’t want any of it. She just wanted her mother.
I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I understand. I hear you. And I want you to know that your mother would much rather pass on her estate to you rather than anywhere else.”
When I left her, I thought about the bird omen. Yes, it’s true. Someone is dying. And I have no doubt that one of the last things she would want is for this to happen, for her daughter to show up in a crisis situation because she and her husband hadn’t ever found a way to face the reality of the inevitable.
No parent wants this.
I know why we squeezed her into the schedule and I know why Ari Zaltz squeezed in a few more moments for her today: Because watching someone about to lose their life’s earnings to something other than their child is difficult to witness.
Thankfully, our schedule is filled with people who want to have that conversation. They see the value in protecting whatever they have for their future generations, so that when their time comes to leave this world, their children can have the peace of mind to focus on their parents’ legacies over anything else.
Legal Assistant / Client Services Manager
Haas & Zaltz, LLP