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A Personal Story: Focusing on Estate Planning, Sound Counsel

When Chanel Reynolds says that it is "really hard to go clean up after someone," she is referring to multiple contexts.

Reynolds is a Seattle mother of two young children. She is also a widow and sole caregiver following her husband's unexpected death in a bicycle accident. After that life-changing event for the family, Reynolds was left to confront what was to her a bewildering assortment of questions and forms relating to finances and assets, something she and her husband had never considered during marriage or remotely prepared for.

Most centrally, those considerations focused on estate planning, a subject that Reynolds felt woefully inadequate to tackle. The couple had no will. Reynolds was suddenly hearing terms like living will, probate and power of attorney. She felt lost.

"I was just overwhelmed by this pile of questions about legal stuff and finances and probate courts," she recently told a reporter in a media profile.

Although daunted, Reynolds eventually got through the process and emerged on the other side with increased knowledge and a strong desire to help others take a proactive approach to estate planning. She has created a website to get people started that contains a checklist of basic concepts and ideas that people should be timely focused upon.

From all indications, Reynolds comes across as a thoughtful and civic-minded person intent on public service. Moreover, and as she notes, her website subject matter is especially relevant to the huge baby boomer population that is now in or quickly approaching retirement.

Reynolds duly notes that her site is based solely on her personal experience and is essentially geared toward getting people to think about the estate planning process. She explicitly notes that it does not constitute legal advice.

Every estate plan is unique, with considerations based on the singular components of a given individual or family. Effective planning tailored to those needs can be achieved through close consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Source: NPR, "From grief comes a mission to make estate planning less daunting," NPR staff, March 12, 2013

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