The Gift

Some days are better than others. This day started like every other day, arrive at the office, grab a quick up of coffee and hit the ground running. As the morning was getting up to full steam, one of my employees came to my office and asked if she could share with me a call she had just taken for one of our clients. The following is an account of a call she took that day. 

The phone rang first thing this morning. As my employee answered the phone and started to gather some information to help the caller. As she began asking basic information, she very quickly knew the person on the other end of the line had a story he wanted to tell. He introduced himself and said that his father passed away. When the family arrived at the house today to start making plans they found a portfolio with the words “Estate Planning” on the front. Inside they found a life insurance policy, letterhead with the attorney who prepared the documents with his number, all the detailed information they needed, and what they called “the gift.” Not wanting to be rude, our employee didn’t ask about the gift, but somehow she knew he was going to tell her. 

He began by saying his father was a private man, especially since his wife passed away. He still came to family events but always seemed to feel uncomfortable and like part of him was missing. As he got older and still living alone, they never talked about what would happen if he got sick or passed away. There just never seemed to be the right time to talk about those sorts of things, especially since it brought back such painful memories of losing his wife and their mother. 

There are three siblings and for the most part they are scattered around the United States. He lived the closest and was the oldest child, so he was the one that received the call that their father had been taken to the hospital and had suffered a heart attack. He contacted his brother and sister and all began planning their trip home. As they began to arrive one by one they made their way to the hospital. He didn’t last through the night. 

The next day they gathered at the house to begin to try and sort things out. They really had nowhere to start. They said over and over to each other, why didn’t we talk about this? And remembered when their mother had died, their father was the one that made all of the arrangements. They wondered if that was his way of protecting them. But, nevertheless, there were plans that had to be made.

His sister began by digging through filing cabinets, searching his bedside table drawer, and looking on the bookshelf where they kept the family Bible and family photo albums. That is where they found the Legacy Safeguard portfolio. It was almost like their dad put it there knowing that it would be one of the first places they would look. Not really even knowing what this was, his sister sat down and opened it up. The two other brothers were in various locations in the house all doing the same thing, looking for anything that might assist them with this daunting task. All they heard was, “Oh my gosh! I think I found something.” They all gathered around as their sister started to read what she found. First, they found a letter. Their Dad had written a letter with all their names listed at the top. It started with how much he loved them and then apologized for the last few years. He went on to say that he knew they had been worried about him but he was just so sad. He had tried to make the best of it, but never really got the hang of being without their mother. He talked about their lives together, how much he remembered each of them as children, and what joy they had given them as parents. He talked about their lives after they were grown and left home and how much fun he and his wife had rediscovering things they enjoyed like traveling. He detailed how he had filled out the portfolio they were looking at with all the information we would need to locate everything and then plan for his memorial services, and how he had a life insurance policy that would take care of all the final expenses. He really didn’t want much, just to be laid to rest next to their mother. He closed the letter with what he called “the gift.” For each of them, he made a special box. The caller said this was so much like their Dad because he used to smoke those fancy cigars that came in those wooden boxes. He always saved them for some reason. Now they knew why he saved at least three of the boxes. He said we would find them under his bed. 

Just as if they were kids again, they ran to the bedroom to find the boxes. As they pulled them out each box had our names on the top. Inside their dad had gathered up things that reminded him of each of them or things that were his that we wanted each of them to have. For the son that called in, it was his father’s pocket watch, a ticket stub from their first pro football game they went to together, a picture of the two them when he caught his first fish, his dad’s pocket knife, a Father’s Day card he had sent to him when he was in college when he needed money, and a note thanking him for being his first born son.

They sat that evening and poured through all the memories and made plans to call the number on the Legacy Safeguard gold card the next morning. When the Advisor answered the phone along with this heartfelt story, what the son wanted to convey was thank you. Thank you for giving us this gift of our father and his Legacy. Without this we would have been lost. 

Every day Legacy Safeguard works with families at the most difficult time of their lives. Some are more prepared than others. The person on the other end of the line, no matter what level of preparedness, needs a comforting voice and the ability to take the burden of planning out of their hands, at least for a little while. The gift we want to pass along to our members is the gift of leaving a lasting legacy. This was a good day, and we hope this story helps you leave “the gift” for your family!