Raymond James TrustWorthy Spotlight : "The LastingMatters Organizer" Author Barbara Bates Sedoric
Raymond James interviewed Barbara Bates Sedoric for their "TrustWorthy" newsletter spotlight to introduce The LastingMatters Organizer to their advisor network. Advisors are using this Organizer to ignite meaningful conversations and to deepen their relationships with multigenerational clients.
Here is the entire interview and the TrustWorthy news article:
This month, TrustWorthy features a professional who has a unique insider’s perspective on what families go through after the death of a loved one.
“What’s in your head is gone when you’re dead.” That’s Barbara Bates Sedoric’s candid way of saying that planning for life-changing events is not something you should put off. She knows because she’s been there for many families left reeling after a sudden loss with no clear guidance on how to move forward with life. After seven years spent on scavenger hunts in widows’ houses as an estates and trusts paralegal, Barbara founded her company, LastingMatters, and crafted a unique and comprehensive organizer of the same name to help prevent many of the chaotic situations she witnessed.
“When a client becomes incapacitated or passes away, families need comfort, they need a plan, and they need trusted advisors they can turn to and depend on,” Barbara says. That’s why she tells advisors that the best thing to do for clients is to give them a tool to help them assemble all of their important information and wishes and make sure both their financial and estate plans are up to date. “It’s a win-win for families and for the advisor.”
You might say planning runs in her family. Barbara comes from three generations of financial advisors, including her father who recently retired after 58 years in the industry, and is even married to an advisor – her husband, Tom. Being surrounded by these life planners and her turbulent experience after her mother’s sudden death provided inspiration for her company.
Everything she does revolves around helping adults organize, compile and document their important personal information – and the struggles she sees are all dominated by the lack of doing so. There’s the woman who built a house with three safes and had a heart attack without telling anyone the combinations or what they contained. There’s the tale of a widow who had never paid a household bill and didn’t know how to access the husband’s computer after his death. And then there’s the family that buried their mother, only to find a letter weeks later that said she wanted to be cremated and her ashes scattered in her favorite places. These types of stories are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Generations of families don’t live together, or even near each other, anymore,” Barbara says, which can lead to chaos in the wake of a death when the survivors don’t even know who to call to get the ball rolling on a funeral. “Planning a funeral is like planning a wedding – only you have three days to do it, not months. There are also more blended families today, which complicates both the financial and estate planning process. “When a solid plan isn’t in place, the result is leaving loved ones wondering who’s in, who’s left out, and who’s in charge,” Barbara says.
The value of a holistic, multigenerational approach to prepare clients for the inevitable cannot be measured. Above all, it shows how much you truly care about your clients and the next generation. Barbara says she heard from the widow of a cancer victim who had completed a LastingMatters Organizer laying out his final wishes. “The widow said this was the greatest gift she could imagine,” Barbara says. “She was able to share with family members that her husband wanted a cremation instead of a burial, a memorial celebration instead of a funeral. There was no scavenger hunt or guessing game as to what he would have wanted and she had immediate access to all of his information. ”
This is Barbara’s message to those who don’t have a comprehensive plan in place: “The greatest gift you can give your loved ones is the gift of information when it matters most. I tell everyone to think of planning as a gift, not a chore.”
For more information about Barbara Sedoric’s company and planning tools, visit LastingMatters.com.