Mark D. Simonson 2013-12-05 06:04:48
The View from My Window Not 50 yards from my Mesa office, is a hospice facility. My office window overlooks their parking lot. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about my “oh-so-scenic” view of a parking lot. Let me be the first to tell you, I never thought a parking lot could give me so much food for thought. What do I see in this hospice parking lot every day that draws my attention? I see families – lots of families – that drive up together and walk in together and leave together. Hand in hand the whole time. For some families, it appears as though they haven’t seen each other for years. Bearing colorful arrangements of flowers and plants, visitors enter the facility. No one is rushed or hurried. The faces quickly became familiar as they returned day in and day out. The reason I practice estate planning to the exclusion of any other field of law is because it all boils down to family. Our clients, and I would assume most people in general, plan their estates because they care about their family. In fact, at our law firm we truly believe that if you have a family, you have a reason – a reason to plan, a reason to prepare, a reason to take the steps to decide who you want to make decisions for you when the time comes that you cannot make decisions for yourself. And very significantly, you not only plan for the assets you will pass on, but the values, traditions, and legacy you wish to share. I love helping my clients provide and protect assets for their family. Sure, estate planning encompasses many aspects and benefits, and I recognize that many people plan solely for tax reasons. But, there are concerns that matter much more. When someone ends up in a hospice facility, all the planning helps a family be better prepared to handle a difficult task. Having that plan in place becomes well worth it. While we can’t always plan what will happen to our health, we can plan our estates so that if our health ever becomes an issue, everything will already be in place. While I see a great many things in the parking lot below my window, there are several things I never see. I never see someone pull up to the hospice center towing a speed boat or a pair of jet skis. No one is there to drop off keys to the cabin in Payson or the timeshare in Hawaii. I have yet to see someone walk in with a big-screen TV or the latest Play station system. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone bejeweled in every gem or precious stone gathered over a lifetime. And, I’m still waiting to see someone carry in a briefcase full of cash handcuffed to their wrist. While my above comments may be slightly facetious in nature, I also speak the truth. To be clear – I see nothing wrong with owning or using any of the items I mentioned. However, the truth is that life is fragile and precious. When the end of life is near, no one who’s admitted to or visiting a hospice center is even considering those items. There’s a reason that there are so many hugs and kisses in this parking lot, at memorial services and at funerals. It is only at the end of someone’s life that we can truly recognize just how much we love, appreciate and even take for granted those around us. In the end, family is the important thing. So while most people wish for a spectacular office view of the bright city lights, an exotic beach or some beautiful landscape out of a postcard, you’ll find me here enjoying my parking lot view. Aft er all, it’s hard to forget what’s important when you see it happening every day. Mark D. Simonson is an estate planning attorney at the law fi rm of Morris, Hall & Kinghorn, P.L.L.C. He meets with clients in the fi rm’s Phoenix, Mesa, and Prescott offi ces. Mark earned his Juris Doctor from Phoenix School of Law in 2011 and a bachelor’s degree in Management from Arizona State University in 2005. Prior to law school he worked as a manager at World Savings and Wachovia Bank. Mark enjoys volunteering as a Wish Granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona. He resides in Gilbert with his wife and three darling girls. For more information, please visit www.morristrust.com or call (602) 249-1328.
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