I have been fortunate in my life. I have not had to experience loss, in any real way. But I know many people who have, both from my personal life and my professional life. And because of these experiences, I try to help not only plan people’s estates but to also get involved in the community and in activities that try to help reduce the impacts of these loses.
One such group that I am proud to associate with is the American Heart Association. The organization does such tremendous in terms of research and education. They work to help people prevent the onset of the disease via the education, but if you end up with a heart condition, the research is there to ensure a happy and full life.
Even more than what the organization does, is the people who are affected by it. Today, I attended the Go Red for Women Luncheon in Albuquerque. When I walked in the room, I was overwhelmed with a sea of red. Hundreds of ladies in their red hats, dresses, coats filled the room. These were people who have been affected by the pains that heart disease can cause. This was a room of people who care!
Some of the stories made me cry (almost). When you hear about a 37-year old fit and healthy man die of a massive heart attack, leaving behind a wife and 3 children it hurts. But the stories were more encouraging. The widow, with the new knowledge of a potential genetic issue, started monitoring the kids, making sure they knew warning signs.
There was the 16-year old who had gone through extensive heart surgeries, but is now a star on the high school soccer team. And the avid golfer, who when needing a pace-maker installed, consulted with the golf-pro to see which placement would least affect his swing. And the 2-year old, who had her first operation at 4 days old, but is now toddling with the best of them.
These stories make the news headlines real. I got to see the people. I got to see their families. And I am glad to be a part of such a great organization and such great people.
When I look at my own estate plan, I know that all the good I can do when I am alive can continue after I am gone because organizations like the Heart Association are a part of my plan. I know that if I leave them out of my plan, they are losing some ability to keep doing the great work that they do.
Make sure those great organizations that mean something to you are not forgotten in your plan.
Contributed by MH Albuquerque and Santa Fe Estate Planning Attorney, James P. Plitz.
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