Prior to attending law school, I got married to the love of my life and started an exciting journey with my new family.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that my in-laws have always been there with me during all the ups and downs.  Upon graduating law school, we moved to Georgia where in addition to working in the law, I engaged in various businesses, such as a restaurant, a small business marketing company and a successful foreclosure restoration company.  Clearly this was a lot, and I could not have done any of it without the love and support of my family, and in particular my sister-in-law, Tamike Thomas.

During that 10-year summary of my life, Tamike was so instrumental with everything.  She was a passionate aunt to not only my children, but to other children in our family and community.  She was practically my business partner in the foreclosure restoration company, overseeing the delivery of over 1,000 properties, and managing exceptional crew members who serviced most of Metro-Atlanta.  Her work afforded me the flexibility to continue working in the legal field while running these businesses.  When I decided to open my practice, she was peculiarly uninterested in supporting me on this project.  That I saw as a sign of her own growth and development and her desire to explore opportunities of her own.   I was so excited to see what would come of her dreams.  She initially started working with pre-school and kindergarten children as a teacher where she was extremely effective.

So, what does this have to do with what we do as a company?  Fathers’ Day 2017 was set to be a regular day for us.  I went out to mow the lawn, and the ladies were preparing a special dinner in honor of the fathers, myself and my father-in-law.  Tamike wasn’t feeling too well, so we gave her the space to recover.  Notwithstanding, she was still able to show kindness to me during the day.  I recall her giving me a special drink after I came in from mowing the lawn just before retiring upstairs to rest a bit.  My wife alerted me to a thud she heard upstairs to which I thought, or maybe hoped, was just the kids playing around.  But my wife’s intuition kicked in and she ran upstairs to investigate.  My wife’s scream for help will forever haunt me.  I immediately ran upstairs to see Tamike, on the floor unresponsive.  Despite a few moments of lucidity, the paramedics were not be able to revive her and she was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.  My Fathers’ day celebrations were forever changed.

This experience cemented my decision to proceed with practicing full-time so as to ensure that proper planning is in place for EVERYONE.  We had all the typical excuses why we didn’t need to plan her estate.  The size of the estate was too small, she was too young, she was not even married yet, there were no dependents.  All the usual excuses not to plan were there, but none of them were good.  At the very least, she should have had a Healthcare Directive in place.  EVERYONE reading this post will eventually have our health fail us, whether unexpectedly or otherwise.  A Will is also a necessity.  You may not realize it, but your loved ones will soon realize that you’ll have an estate upon your demise, whether you like it or not.  It’s just a fact.  Creditors know this and they’ll find that estate eventually.  If you have not planned this ahead of time, you leave your loved ones vulnerable having to deal with more than just making stressful decisions about your remains.

Having personally gone through these experiences and seen them played out in the lives of our clients, we decided to return to South Florida with the expressed mission to protect and secure the futures of as many families who will listen and are willing to take action.  Tamike’s picture now hangs in our office as a reminder of the lessons she taught.  It is also a reminder that I am not alone in this business, because I know that I’d have her complete support in building this practice.  However, I have many regrets, most of which involves not taking actions to secure her legacy.  On the other hand, if you are reading this, then it is not too late for you.  Take action today and schedule an appointment.

This article is a service of The Brammer Firm, Personal Family Lawyer®.  We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer an Initial Wealth Planning Session during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love.  You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

Author: Marlon O. Brammer

Marlon is the Founder and Managing Partner of Brammer, PLLC, a law firm committed to building stronger families, businesses and communities through Estate Planning, Business Planning with Asset Protection, and Real Estate.