Planning for the Second Half of Life
“In the second half of life you start to understand that life is not only about doing; it’s about being.”
– Richard Rohr
To be an effective legal counselor to clients who are planning for the second half of life requires a commitment to:
- Understanding what it means to be living in the second half of life;
- A commitment to being a “guide” in the clients’ pursuit of quality of life in the second half;
- The understanding that each client has unique ideas about what quality of life means, and deserves customized planning to help them achieve their goals
- Providing legal counseling and guidance that is holistic – taking into account necessary legal planning (estate planning, dementia planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, wealth protection planning, special needs planning, business succession planning, veterans benefits planning) health care planning, lifestyle and life care options planning, retirement planning, and incapacity decision making.
- Providing continuity in the clients planning that is nimble and responsive to life changes as their occur during the second half.
I.Understanding the meaning of “Second Half of Life”
“The greatest potential for growth and self-realization exists in the second half of life.” —Carl Jung
Second half of Life is less a reference to a chronological time i.e. “I figure I’ll live to 90, so my second half of life begins at 45” than a reference to a state of spiritual, psychological and emotional “being”. Jungian psycho-analyst James Hollis believes it is only in the second half of life that we can truly come to know who we are and thus create a life that has meaning. To be an effective legal counselor, learn to talk with your clients about their sense of spiritual, psychological and emotional being, It’s also critical to familiarize yourself with those service providers and professional in your community who specialize in counseling individuals finding a sense of purpose in the second half of life.
II. Quality of Life Planning
“One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little in the evening; and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.” – – Carl Jung
How many attorneys focus on understanding what quality of life means to their clients? Do you? Can we successfully guide our clients in the planning for their second half of life without knowing just what a quality of life looks like to them? Learn to have this discussion with your clients and reap the rewards of knowing that the customized planning they do with you has a great chance of helping them achieve their quality of life goals.
III. Customized Planning
“The way you would draw a tree is different from the way anyone else would draw a tree– and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” —- Fred Rogers
Each one of your clients is unique. You want them to know that you believe that about them. Law firms often say that they refuse to use a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all approach to their clients’ legal planning. In our second half of life planning model, that pledge is always adhered to. Identifying what makes each client unique is priority one. No two plans are the same
Unlike many law firms, you will learn not to use a “cookie cutter”, one-size-fits-all approach to legal planning. You will learn why no two plans are ever the same, because no person’s or family’s goals are ever exactly the same. You will learn to offer every client a written plan — a road map that will guide them as they move forward in their planning for the second half of life.
IV. Holistic planning
Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. — Peter Drucker
Holistic planning is the efficient and effective way to help your client plan for the second half of life. Holistic legal planning for the second half of life requires that you have an expert level of knowledge in the services that your clients might expect to receive throughout their life’s second half. The legal plan is only the beginning of the value that you have for your clients. We will teach you about what you need to know, the resources you need to have available, and the community based contacts you need to cultivate so that when your clients call you, sometimes years later, in the midst of a health care or other crisis and you are the first person they turn to for help.
V. Continuity in Planning
“It helps to know there is going to be continuity.” — Tony Bennett
Quality planning for the second half of life means that your client has a sense of continuity. They want to know that after the intensity of the initial planning if over, they you will not forget about them. Are you going to keep them up to date on changes in the law? Will you be reviewing their plans and letting them know when an update might be necessary? Will you be ready when an emergency arises, and they need your guidance immediately? Learn how a well-defined continuity plan for your clients will reap financial rewards for you and give your clients peace of mind.