When I was 24, my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly and I immediately found myself in the most vulnerable and helpless state of my entire life. He died on a Tuesday and I was back at work the next week. I missed only three days of work. I didn’t have an option of taking more time off and I had bills that needed to be paid. I poured my energy into my work and avoided grieving for years. Most people probably thought I was fine. In actuality, I was devastated beyond what words could ever capture, and I was constantly worried about what was going to happen next with his estate. The worry and grief kept me up at night and made my work life suffer. We ended up losing the farm I grew up on, it took us two years to close his estate and we ultimately had to make the decision to dissolve the business he had built for over 35 years. 35 years! That means something he had poured into for longer than I had been alive, just went away and there was nothing I could do to stop it. He had no estate strategy, no will and no life insurance. Anyone that knew him probably thought he had “everything buttoned up” and so did I. But guess what? We never talked about it, not once.
A properly laid strategy goes a long way. It is important to understand that leaving a legacy doesn’t just mean enabling your family to have a greater sense of financial stability. It is equally, if not more so, about helping to protect their daily experience in an emotionally exhausting time. It is enabling them to focus on the legacy of love and character that you leave behind while not adding financial stress to their plates.
It’s a tough thing to think about, I know. I talk to people about it every day. At the core of loving and caring for someone though, having a strategy in place is one of the best things you can possibly do to help ensure you are able to love and protect them always.
My dad was one of the most influential and remarkable people I have ever met and I am eternally grateful for the gift of getting to be his daughter. His favorite holiday was Valentine’s Day. He called it “Happy Hart Day” for me and sent me a note or card that said so every year until he passed. His legacy lives on through me every day in countless ways, but perhaps most specifically by way of inspiring me to serve as a financial professional so I can help people feel more educated and empowered about their financial roadmap. It would be my privilege to have the opportunity to serve you and your family.
By Hart Harrison
Financial Services Professional