Make August Your Estate Plan Month

Make August Your Estate Plan Month

Your social media feed may soon be filled with photos of sisters, books or bow ties as we commemorate some quirky national days this month. Far more important than national Sister or Pythagorean Theorem Day (yes, it’s a thing), August is Make a Will Month.

Although a will is important, it is just one piece of a bigger estate plan that makes a difficult time a bit easier for loved ones. An estate plan is your personal blueprint for what happens after your incapacitation or passing. So, why settle for just a piece?

Make August your estate plan month and contact an attorney to draft a complete plan that may consist of these important documents:


Living Trust: The source through which you will communicate your wishes related to managing and transferring property after your death or incapacity. While a will might also be used to communicate these wishes, a trust is preferred in many states, because property directed by the trust passes outside the often expensive and time-consuming process of probate (a process in which a court decides for you).  

Will: A document that may also direct the transfer of property in certain states and also nominates guardians for children, an executor to funnel assets left out of the trust into the trust, and a conservator to act on your incapacity. Without a will, the court – a stranger – will make these decisions for you.

Powers of Attorney: The means through which you will nominate a person(s) to make financial and healthcare-related decisions if you are unable to do so. A healthcare power of attorney (also known as an advanced healthcare directive) lets others know what medical treatment you want and your preferences about pain relief, life support and organ donation. A power of attorney for financial matters authorizes a nominated agent to carry out tasks such as paying for everyday expenses, watching over investments, filing taxes and/or collecting retirement plans or insurance benefits.

Related: Top Financial Priorities: A Mid-Year Check-In

Making $ense of Probate


A legal process in which a court determines the validity of a deceased person’s will.  Probate also includes the administration of a deceased person’s estate by the appointed executor (named in the will) or an administrator (named by the court in absence of a will).  Estate administration includes collecting assets, paying liabilities and taxes and distributing property to heirs. 

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NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 


However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
     

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”


That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio