Culture: How a Practice of Karma Can Improve Your Business

Good business practices like transparency and corporate responsibility can be leveraged to build valuable relationships. But throwing around these buzzwords will only get you so far.

If you really want to see results, what you may want to consider is a practice of karma: the idea that helping others become successful—suppliers, customers, even competitors—is the real key to your success in life as well as in business. It may seem to go against everything you’ve learned about business, such as that it’s necessary to be cutthroat, take out your competitors and get as much as you can while giving as little as possible. The times are changing.

Now, smart business owners know that the key to long-lasting success is turning competitors into collaborators and giving as much as you can to create win/win situations always.

It’s one of the things we are best at, helping you identify the win/win, even when you can’t see it. And, also helping you see where you may be engaging in win/lose tactics without even knowing it because it can be so deeply conditioned.

If you’d like to begin to gather your own evidence for a practice of Karmic business, read the books The Diamond Cutter and Karmic Business, both by Geshe Michael Roach.

Don’t be afraid to take your eyes off the bottom line and focus on how your company can be a force for good, even by helping your competitors. Building a culture that develops healthy karma can be as simple as providing over and above outstanding customer service, taking the time to make your vendor’s lives easier by paying more quickly than required, or even sending referrals to a competitor without an expectation of any return.

Building karma is an important investment of time and energy, and it does pay off. Too many business owners neglect their business relationships and miss out on countless rewards. Operations and growth are always top priorities for entrepreneurs, but make sure your company culture focuses on building strong relationships, too.

If you want to free up your time and energy to work on your business relationships, begin by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we can help you structure your business, so you can focus on growth, potential and all the reasons why you love doing business and show you the opportunities for karmic business that you may be overlooking.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

New Business Owner? Avoid These Common Startup Mistakes

The startup life can be exciting and for many the learning curve is huge. In the midst of growth and opportunity, many entrepreneurs make costly legal mistakes which can be easily avoided with the proper preparation. Here are some of the most common legal missteps made by businesses in the startup phase:

Not Drafting a Clear Founder Agreement

A crystal-clear agreement between co-founders before you start making a profit (or losses, as the case may be) will prevent financial misunderstandings about who gets what and when. Decide early on how profits will be distributed and losses made up to avoid much bigger conflict down the road. Use the “Agreement Process” (part of our LIFT Foundation System) to determine how you handle the hard issues, right up front, before you make big investments.

 Starting as a Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are easy to set up but expose you to personal risk and potentially higher taxes. Consider an LLC or S-Corporation to protect your personal assets and possibly even reduce your tax burden.

Ignoring Securities Laws When Issuing Stock

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same adage applies to startups. If you want to issue stock to those who’ve helped you along the way, heed all state and federal securities laws. Contact us before you issue any stock, so we can get you set up right.

Not Having Enough Employment Documentation

Every startup should have a set of comprehensive employment (or independent contractor) agreements in its arsenal. Avoid the high cost of resolving employee conflicts in court by making sure your policies and agreements are absolutely clear, and that you’ve properly categorized team members as either employees, or independent contractors. If you aren’t sure, contact us.

Neglecting IP Protections

Your intellectual property is an asset, and should be protected from day one. That means trademarks registered, and copyrights filed. If you aren’t sure what needs protecting, contact us to get an audit scheduled.

Failing to Develop a Tax Strategy

If you’re not making a lot of money, why worry about taxes, right? Think again. Work with a tax advisor to develop a tax strategy, and don’t wait until tax season to do so! We meet with our clients’ and their tax advisor at least annually in the Fall to begin identifying the tax opportunities that must be planned for well before year end.

Negligent Naming

Before you register your name or your domain, make sure there aren’t any trademarks or similarly named companies already using your name.

Not Having Clear User Agreements

Don’t launch your website without getting terms of use agreement and privacy policy in place and on your site. We can help with that too.

Perhaps the biggest legal mistake a startup can make is not having good legal counsel. Don’t wait until it’s too late to hire an attorney to help you avoid sticky situations. Having a trustworthy and experienced attorney in your ring from day one will help you start-up with the solid foundation you need for success.

Startups can be risky ventures, but with sound planning, you can beat the odds. If you want to avoid the costly legal mistakes many startups make, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can establish a sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax system for your business so you can focus on running your growing startup.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Avoid Business Litigation With These Six Steps

Business litigation is an expensive use of both time and money and should be avoided whenever possible. Even the most favorable of settlements can cost a business months—if not years—of productivity and focus.

To avoid the high costs of litigation, follow these six preventive steps:

  1. Don’t skimp on contracts. Instead of spending a fortune on legal fees when facing a lawsuit in the future, make a smaller, smarter investment in solid contracts and getting clear on agreements up front, in the present.
  2. Audit your insurance policies. Ensure that you have the breadth and depth of coverage your business needs to be protected. Consult with us to help you  decipher how to protect your business best using the right kinds and types of insurance, so that if a lawsuit does happen, you aren’t footing the legal bill.
  3. Keep good records. Simply producing key documents can easily thwart expensive, time consuming lawsuits. Keeping excellent records now can help save money on future litigation. Ask about our LIFT records binder to support you in keeping the right records, and letting go of the rest.
  4. Hire, train, and manage your staff with processes and procedures that mitigate the risk of future lawsuits.
  5. Be proactive. Small disputes can quickly turn into full-blown suits. Deal with minor disputes early to avoid a trip to court. Contact us at the first rumblings of a disgruntled client, vendor or partner.
  6. Only enter into win/win agreements. Commit to caring as much about the outcome with the person you are contracting with as you do about the outcome for yourself. We can help you with that when we are working with you to strategize the documentation of your agreements.

With careful preventative planning, you can safeguard your business against unnecessary and costly litigation.

Protecting your business and your time is a strategic and valuable practice. If you’re ready to take the next step toward preventative planning, start by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we can guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including how to safeguard your business against legal risks. We look out for your business’s future, so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Small Business Financing at the End of the Brick and Mortar Era

As more banks close local branches and eschew brick and mortar growth, small businesses face uncertain times. With fewer branches in which to form trusted financial relationships, business owners often must rely on online banking for everyday needs.

This poses a problem for small business owners who previously benefited from personal relationships with bankers when seeking financing. Although a computer algorithm might not recognize the potential of a small business from an online loan application, personal bankers often can, making local banking branches an important source of funds for small businesses.

So, what can small businesses do to secure vital financing in a world where brick and mortar branches are closing their doors? Where can they turn for personalized financing? Can online banking be trusted?

Entrusting a banking app with the financial livelihood of your business might make small business owners uneasy, especially when facing rejection from online loan applications that only take into consideration hard numbers like credit scores and revenues.

You can offset this disadvantage by working with a skilled advisor—such as a Business Lawyer—who can help you plan for the future and secure financing for growth on your own terms. A Business Lawyer can do two things: help you prepare to secure financing from a bank and help keep you in excellent financial shape allowing you to rely less on financing and more on growth.

A Business Lawyer knows what big banks want to see in an applicant and can help you represent your business as an  attractive candidate for financing. By coordinating your business formation, tax strategy, insurance policies, and financial operations, a Business Lawyer can ensure your business is a sound investment for any financier.

But securing a small business loan is just the start. To focus on growth, you’ll want to put financial systems in place that minimize your reliance on financing while maximizing the performance of the funding you do obtain.

Securing financial backing for small businesses is harder than ever, but with sound planning, you can beat the odds. If you want to put systems in place to boost your financial fortitude, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can establish a sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax system for your business so you can focus on growth and reach your full potential.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

How to Increase Well-Being While Running a Successful Business That Seems to Require All Your Time and Energy

Think business is all work and no play? It’s that mindset that will hold you back from reaching your potential. Your happiness matters. The problem is, the pressure of running a business can make it seem that prioritizing self care and your overall well-being is next to impossible, or even irresponsible. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

If you don’t prioritize self-care, your business will never succeed to the level you want. It’s a tricky balance that you will only be able to master if you see through the belief patterns that are holding you back.

Here’s something to look at that can have a big impact on your achievement of true success, going forward.

Let Your Discomfort Guide You, Appropriately

Quite often, traditional success is driven by fear of failure, a need to prove something, or a mind that tells you that when you [insert your favorite achievement oriented goal], then you will be able to be happy.
Unfortunately, what most often happens with success driven from this place, is you’ll hit the goal, but still not be happy.

Or you’ll be happy for a few minutes, and then it’s on to the next goal. Always chasing, never satisfied.

Typically, that’s happening because your relationship to discomfort is out of whack.

You are trying to solve for your discomfort with achievement, when really what your discomfort is asking for is self-care.

And, if you don’t listen to the request properly because you were never taught what self-care looks like, or because you don’t know how to listen to the part of you that’s uncomfortable, you will keep feeding the discomfort the wrong kind of nourishment.

Recognize What Your Mind is Telling You

In order to get into right relationship with your discomfort, you first need to notice that your mind is driving all of this.

It is using discomfort to speak to you.

But only because it’s the only way it knows to get your attention. Like a small child that keeps trying to get your attention, until it needs to use the most atrocious negative behaviors to do so, your mind will keep trying to tell you what it wants.

And, it’s way of doing so will get louder and louder, and uglier and uglier, until one day, it may make you very sick, just so you finally hear it.

Ideally, you can see it far before that point (like right now) and make the life changes it’s asking for, not by achieving more, but by caring for yourself more.

Embrace Discomfort

Entrepreneurs make tough decisions every day. They also have tough conversations. Whether it’s discussing an employee’s performance or a recent hiccup in operations, approach uncomfortable situations with a well-thought out plan, specific suggestions for improvement, and confidence.

Along those same lines, put preventative measures in place—like drafting better legal contracts—to mitigate uncomfortable situations.

Set Boundaries

Driven entrepreneurs often hire like-minded people who are passionate about work and motivated to do whatever it takes to succeed. They work hard and get results! But it’s just as important to set healthy boundaries, especially with a team of dedicated professionals. It’s vital that you model excellent self care by taking good care of yourself and encouraging your team to do the same.  Work hard and don’t lose sight of the importance of your own mental health and well-being.

Take Care of Yourself

As a business owner, your bandwidth is not unlimited. Running a business is a mentally draining endeavor. When you suffer, your business suffers.

Put systems in place to ensure legal and financial issues are taken care of before they stress you out. This can include proper tax planning and auditing your insurance policies to ensure your business is well protected. Minimizing problems can free up your mental energy so you can actually enjoy the excitement and freedom of entrepreneurship.

Train with the Experts

Looking after your mental health and well-being is no easy task. Seek out the help of experts in  developing excellent techniques for relaxation and reducing anxiety, such as meditation and mindfulness training.

Don’t let self care take a back seat while building a successful business.  If you’re ready to expand the value of your business by implementing systems that ensure your mental health is at the top of the list, start by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including how to preserve your well-being as an entrepreneur. We can look out for your business’s future, so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Promoting Your Business on Social Media? Here’s How to Protect Your Reputation Online

Social media as a marketing tool can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to building your business reputation. Friends, followers, and likes on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can help your business gain raving fans with a tap or a click. Not only can you easily gauge the public’s response to your company (for better or worse), the immediate nature of these digital tools allow you to instantly make reparative efforts if a customer’s complaint paints you in a bad light.

Along with the benefits of social media come considerable drawbacks. A few vocal, unhappy customers can start trends you’d rather avoid. And as Warren Buffet has so wisely declared, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” The best way to protect your business reputation is to put systems in place to prevent major mishaps and allow you to quickly and authentically respond to and mitigate any social media crisis.

Listen

Social media is the perfect venue to listen to your customers so you can better respond to their needs. Listen to what people are saying, and be proactive in your responses. Encourage satisfied customers to post reviews and submit testimonials so that you have proof of a positive track record to weigh out any negative reviews that come in. And they will come in! One or two bad reviews won’t bother prospects when there are 75 glowing ones to balance them out. Be sure to read and respond to feedback in any form – positive or negative – so that your customers know you are listening.

Respond Appropriately

Not every company has the resources to respond on social media in real time. Just make sure you set reasonable expectations for responses (e.g. 24-48 hours), and make sure you post that promised response time.

Also, be thoughtful when responding. Showing your customers you care by responding thoughtfully to complaints can prevent crises from occurring. Better yet, leverage the impact of a negative review by using it as a means for demonstrating your ability to take in feedback and apply appropriate solutions. If you don’t feel the feedback accurately reflects the “true story,” use it as an opportunity to clarify details and explain your side of the story. You may not win one unhappy customer back, but you can use your responses to negative reviews as an opportunity to show prospects your ability to reason things out and find solutions.

 Be Transparent

Transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Be honest, upfront, and don’t try to hide legitimate customer concerns. Honestly truly is the best policy and will help you win loyal customers over the long haul.

Be Social Media Savvy

This entails more than just crafting the perfect tweet. Have a crisis plan in place for sticky situations. Set clear moderation guidelines so taking down violating posts doesn’t look suspicious. Consider hiring an experienced social media manager to handle your accounts, and restrict access to those accounts.

Keep Your Cool

You can’t please everyone all the time. The best thing you can do is to be prepared to handle sticky social media situations with grace, honesty, and transparency anytime they arise.

If you’re ready to take that step toward protecting the online reputation of your business, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. We’re here to help you implement legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems that will prevent major mishaps so you can focus on the positive aspects of business ownership.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Ten Common Money Pits Even Brilliant Entrepreneurs Fall Into

If you’re relying on your top line to grow your wealth, you could be missing out on easy opportunities to save money and improve profits, independent of your revenue.

Many entrepreneurs waste precious time and money by falling prey to these common mistakes. However, there is no need to sacrifice, work harder, or take on new financial risks when they can be easily avoided.

  1. Not Monitoring Your Credit Score

Discrepancies in your credit score can cost you thousands in interest rates and premiums. Monitor your credit report every six months for accuracy.

  1. Scrimping on Productive Expenses

Differentiate between wasteful consumption expenses and rainmaking expenses that can pay big returns—you can’t afford to scrimp on those.

  1. Relying on Investment Advisors

Commissioned advisors want to keep your assets under their control. Stay conscious of this bias. And, consider having us, as your objective trusted advisor who is not paid a commission, review all investments before you make them.

  1. Reactive Tax Planning

During tax season, your accountant’s focus is on filing returns, not strategizing. Meet off-season at least once to prepare a proactive—not reactive—tax strategy. And always get projections before the end of the year so you can strategize end of year tax decisions.

  1. Using the Wrong Business Structure

Review your business structure with an attorney every three years to ensure your structure is still advantageous.

  1. Monthly Payments on Multiple Loans

Refinancing or restructuring your loans could save interest and potentially even taxes. Pay off your least efficient loan first, and you could qualify for lower interest rates on the rest.

  1. Blind Investing

Invest in what you know. You—not a commissioned advisor—know what’s best for your business. And that requires you to be tracking your financials at least monthly, and likely weekly, to be making wise choices consistently.

  1. Sharing Profits

Profit sharing with employees solely for tax purposes is like giving the IRS control of your money. Don’t spend money to save money. But, do invest money to create more of what you want. So consider profit sharing to motivate long-term growth and legacy of your business.

  1. Funding 401(k)s

Your contributions are tax-deferred, but you have to pay those taxes at some point. Because taxes are expected to go up, you’ll end up paying more to the IRS.

  1. Losing Passion

Losing the passion you have for your business means lost productivity—easy to do when you’re bogged down with daily details and decisions. Take the time to be proactive about your legal, insurance, financial, and tax planning so you can fuel the passion that brought you to this business in the first place.

If you’re ready to be proactive about the financial success of your business, begin by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we are here to help you implement legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems that will free up your time and money, so you can focus on what matters.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Tax Lessons to be Learned from Celebrity Estate Plans

A celebrity’s image and likeness can continue to produce considerable income after death. This type of intellectual property is considered part of your estate, and the IRS can tax its value. In the case of pop star Michael Jackson’s estate, that recently meant an IRS bill to the tune of $64.5 million, years after his death, which is about 40% of his likeness’ valuation of $161 million.

Michael Jackson’s estate planning fail could certainly have been avoided by using one of these estate-planning strategies that minimize the taxable value of a person’s image and likeness.

Charitable Bequests

Robin Williams made a charitable bequest of his image and likeness to a foundation. It was set up in his name, allowing his estate to get a charitable deduction against the estate tax.

Time Bans

Williams also established a 25-year time ban to prevent any future exploitation of his image. A time restriction lowers the value of a celebrity’s name and likeness because the value is typically lower at the end of the ban than at the date of death.

State of Residence

Some states don’t recognize inheritable postmortem rights to likeness. This means the estate can’t profit from it. Consider your state’s laws when estate planning so you can benefit from any available tax breaks.

Consult with Multiple Appraisers

Get one appraisal and have another appraiser act as a consultant to point out where there might be room to argue against the valuation.

Celebrity estate planning fails grace the cover of tabloids and news sites as soon as weeks after their deaths. Fortunately, they provide valuable estate planning lessons for the rest of us. While their fails may be more expensive, even a small fail can have a huge impact on your family’s future and well-being. Don’t leave your family holding the bag, especially an empty one.

Your family is worth the time for you to have a Family Wealth Planning Session with us so you can make empowered, informed choices for the people you love. As your Estate Attorney, we can walk you step by step through a process that will minimize your tax liability and keep your family out of court and out of conflict.

Our Family Wealth & Legacy Planning Session guides you to protect and preserve what matters most. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth & Legacy Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your family is taken care of and you’ll leave the Session with absolute clarity about how to make the best choices for your life and death.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. 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 a Family Wealth & Legacy 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 at 832.408.0505 to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to better protect your family.

The Unexpected Costs of Caring for Elderly Parents In Your Home

Multi-generational households are becoming the new (or maybe it’s really old) in vogue way to handle the care of aging parents. And we’re all for it so long as you consider the implications and set your family up for success.

With Mom or Dad moving in, you can anticipate some extra expenses, not just financially, but possibly emotionally as well. But it’s hard to know what to expect, and you might face costs you didn’t see coming. Having an elderly parent move in with you is a major life event that requires financial and emotional preparation. Here are some unexpected costs of caring for elderly parents to get you thinking about what lies ahead, if you decide to move mom or dad into your home.

Remodeling

Many people don’t think about the modifications they might need to make to their home to welcome an elderly parent. If your parent is living with you long-term, you will want to make him or her comfortable, which might entail adding a new addition to your home, creating a private living space out of a shared area, making accommodations for single-level living if your parent cannot navigate the stairs, or adding mobility adaptations such as a walk-in bath or chair lifts.

Lost Work Productivity

Moving your elderly parent in, helping him or her get acquainted with the area, and checking out activities can all eat into your work week. Expect further loss of productivity if you have to take your parent to run errands, to medical appointments, or to therapy sessions. You can look into senior transportation services if you are unable to take time off from work, but remember to budget for the extra expense.

Home Help

In-home care can be a significant expense, but unless you are able to take time away from your busy day, your elderly parent might need it. Long-term care insurance will sometimes cover some or all of the costs, and you might be able to get assistance from certain programs through the VA or other community organizations.

Miscellaneous Household Expenses

The costs of simply having another household member can be unexpectedly high, especially if that member spends most of his or her day at home. You should expect such extra expenses as increased heat and electricity bills, special foods, and personal care products. Remember that elderly parents have special needs, and those needs can be expensive.

Medical Expenses

Even with insurance, your parent might have steep out of pocket costs for co-pays, prescriptions, mobility aids, supplements, vitamins, and other uninsured medical expenses. For certain conditions, these costs can quickly add up.

Long-Term Expenses

As your parent ages, his or her needs will change, too. These changing needs can result in unexpected long-term costs. When your parent’s retirement funds are exhausted or when they face deteriorating health, you might have to consider the staggering costs of long-term care in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Therapy

Moving mom or dad into your home could bring up all of the unresolved emotional issues that have not yet been addressed within your family dynamic. This isn’t something to be afraid of, so long as you have the right support. On the contrary, it can be a great opportunity to heal inter-generational wounds that would otherwise get passed on to you and your children and their children.

Caring for an elderly parent can result in unexpected expenses and unexpected benefits, as well. Now that they have become dependent on you, you might also need to consider making changes to your insurance policies or revising your estate plan. If you are ready to take the step of officially becoming caregiver for mom or dad, meet with us for guidance.

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you prepare for the unexpected costs (and reap all the benefits) of caring for an elderly parent. We begin all planning with a Family Wealth Planning Session to get to know you, what’s important to you, and to support you to make the most informed, educated and empowered decisions possible for yourself and the people you love. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what’s most important to you, and what you can do to ensure your entire family is taken care of.

 This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate Attorney. 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 a Family 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.

Facing Grief After the Death of a Loved One Can Be the Key to a Life of Health and Wholeness

If you have ever met someone who repeatedly sabotaged their life or seemed to have a hard time moving things forward, despite the best of intentions, it may be that they were dealing with unprocessed grief. Most people have never been taught to deal with grief and as a result are stuck dealing with confusing emotions, relationships that don’t work and lives that can feel like they just don’t work.

This relationship between facing grief and being able to move through it in a healthy way was discussed at length by Prince Harry in a recent podcast with Bryony Gordon of Mad World. In the interview, Prince Harry addressed his personal struggle with dealing with the loss of his mother, grief he spent 20 years denying.

Raised in the spotlight, in a culture where keeping up appearances and holding it together are paramount, Prince Harry struggled through early adulthood and didn’t know why. A few very public drunken escapades and the expectation that feelings were not to be discussed led Harry to a very dark place. Some blamed it on traumatic experiences he’d had while serving in Afghanistan, but deep down Harry knew that wasn’t the cause.

His rage grew and he had no outlet. Thankfully, he started talking – to family members and to a therapist. And things began to shift. He slowly realized that the public grieving he was forced to do as a child did not adequately release his intense emotions. He took up boxing to deal with his anger and started a non-profit organization to help others, passionate about spreading the word that grief should not be suppressed.

Prince Harry discovered that simple and honest conversation about death and grief were the key to healing. In doing so, he processed his feelings and moved on from the death of his mother in a healthy way. Now he enjoys helping others move through grief and other painful emotions by listening to their problems, a technique he says is sometimes all you need to face grief and gain clarity of mind about your feelings.

Clarity in the face of grief is important not only to keep moving forward in your life and process your emotions in a healthy way, but it’s also necessary to be able to make the important decisions often faced when someone dies – and often not considered until it’s too late. The unfortunate result is a tough transition when a loved one dies.

What we can learn from Prince Harry’s experience is that grief should never be ignored. Denial can contribute to self-destructive behavior and an avoidance of dealing with important issues, such as how a loved one’s wishes should be carried out.

To be proactive and reduce the strain on your family when you die, so that they can focus on moving through the grief instead of stuffing the feelings so they can deal with all of the “stuff” you’re leaving behind, create a comprehensive estate plan that makes it easy for the people you love. Doing so will allow your family to focus on processing their grief without having to worry about over-managing your estate.

If you are ready to take that step toward making things as easy as possible for the people you love in the event of your incapacity or death, start by sitting down with us. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can walk you through creating an estate plan that will protect what you value most. We always begin with a  Family Wealth Planning Session so you can get informed, educated and empowered to make the right choices for the people you love. . Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most, and how your affairs should be handled when you die.

This article is a service of Gratia Schoemakers, Estate Attorney. 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 a Family 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