Life Lessons from RV4TheCause

On March 28, 2011 Woodward Financial Advisors hosted an educational seminar called “Estate and Financial Planning for Clients Living with Chronic Illness.”  Over 35 local attorneys, CPAs, and members of the MS Society attended.  The featured speaker was Martin Shenkman, JD, CPA a nationally recognized expert on estate planning and founder of RV4TheCause.

(Left to Right) Kendra Hudson, Ben Birken, Linda Patchett, Jim Miller, & Marty Shenkman

For Marty, as his friends call him, the issue of estate and financial planning for those living with chronic illness is personal because his wife, Patti, suffers from multiple sclerosis.  After her diagnosis in 2006, Marty combed the professional literature and found little to no information available on the subject.  Seeking to remedy the situation, he got busy and filled the void by writing books and articles on planning for the chronically ill and eventually taking his show on the road with RV4TheCause.

RV4TheCause involves Marty, Patti, and therapy dog, Elvis, travelling the country in an RV.  At each stop along the way, Marty gives presentations to educate the chronically ill and the professionals who advise them on how they can better plan for the future.  His hope is that the increased certainty planning brings will counter the uncertainty created by life with a chronic illness.

Marty, Patti, & Elvis

Marty, Patti, and therapy dog Elvis hard at work in the Airstream.

Although Marty’s advice is targeted to the over 120 million Americans who suffer from chronic illness, much of it applies to everyone.  After all, no can predict or dictate their future, but we can increase the likelihood of a better outcome should something bad happen by being prepared.

So, if you’ve been putting off creating or updating your estate planning documents, now may be the time revisit them.  You might also want to review how your accounts are titled, who you’ve designated as beneficiaries on life insurance and retirement accounts, and whether or not you have adequate insurance coverage.  For better or worse, life changes.  It’s your job to make sure the plans you have in place change along with it!

For more information on the resources Marty has complied, check out his website

About Ben Birken

Follow me on Twitter: @WFA_Ben
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