My family has been in the insurance business since 1945. My dad joined my uncle’s company when he came home from WWII. He was an honest, hardworking man with a heart of gold. He raised 3 sons and they meant the world to him. His love was unconditional.
In business, my dad was caring and very close to his clients. We grew up eating at their restaurants and buying what we needed from their shops. When one of his customers passed away, he always took it personally, and made sure the insurance policy paid quickly. He would even deliver the check personally to ensure finances would not become a source of extra stress for the family during that difficult time.
I grew up witnessing all this, and the values of family, love and support grew ever stronger in me. I have raised 3 boys myself, 2 as a single father, and I can’t express the pride I feel in the fathers that they have now become to my 5 grandchildren. Family is at the heart of my life, and I can see my sons have embraced this value too. I couldn’t imagine a day when they wouldn’t be there for each other.
"A family member passing away can be one of the most challenging moments there are, and could quickly become a reason for the family to tear apart."
When my mother contracted Alzheimer’s, it was a no brainer for me to leave my job on the West Coast and move back to Florida to be with her. I wanted to support her and felt very fortunate to have the chance to spend that time with her. I thought my brothers would like the opportunity to cherish time with her too.
Unfortunately, the situation didn’t evolve the way I would have hoped for. My brothers, who were at a much higher financial level than me, were embroiled in a nasty feud involving their insurance agency.
By simply wanting to bring everyone together, I somehow found myself in the middle of their bitter argument and lost not only the money that my parents proudly left for me, but more importantly, I lost my relationship with my two brothers. One of them didn’t even come to the funeral which was devastating. I can only thank my children who supported me and didn’t allow me to fall apart all together.
Add to that the money situation. Each lives in a completely different financial reality. Is the one that has the most money going to feel animosity towards the others if they believe he should bear more of the expense? What a situation for a family to be in on what must be one of the worst days of their lives.
This should be a chance for them to come together, grieve together, and celebrate our lives together. Not a day to mourn my death while arguing over funeral details. Instead, I would like it to deepen their relationship with each other and bond them together for the rest of their lives.
The situation I found myself in with my brothers unfortunately happens all the time. Since I started working in this industry, I have seen families ripped apart because of different ideas about arrangements and money, over and over again. That, more than anything else, is why I have built My Parting Gift: To prevent this from happening to you. Arrangements can be made ahead of time. Money can be put away or used to purchase life insurance for pennies on the dollar. The choices you make now are choices your children won’t be forced to make later.
So, talk to your family, use our complimentary planning tools we offer to you, and feel free to contact us and discuss any type of funding questions you might have.
President of Advanced Senior Advisors and creator of My Parting Gift