Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone special. The process of grieving allows the griever to adapt to a new world of existence without the loved one. If allowed to proceed through the grieving process with minimal guilt, anxiety, stress, unresolved issues and conflict, we can help each griever experience their grief fully and allow the griever to validate and honor the life of the deceased, and affirm and strengthen relationships with survivors.

When one thinks of making an estate plan, visions of rolling-hill estates and large brokerage accounts may come to mind. Clients often say that they want to establish an estate plan “to minimize tax and avoid probate.” Attorneys spend a great deal of time in post-graduate law school to learn the complex tax and probate laws to help clients with these goals. When we examine these goals in more depth, we find that they often represent unmet human needs which are expressed by avoiding probate and minimizing taxes. Clients experience these needs with emotions and feelings.

In realizing that each one of us will die one day, to different degrees, we experience fear, anxiety and anticipatory grief, because unlike any other living species existing on the planet, we humans share an acute awareness of our ultimate demise.

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