The Runway Decade

Estate Planning on the Runway

In today’s episode of the “The Runway Decade Podcast” hosts Bill Bush and Pete Bush, advisors at Horizon Financial Group speak with guest Sharon Whitlow, an Attorney, and Partner at Whitlow & Simmons Law firm. She talks about her professional journey, and how she dealt with both simultaneously, her legal work and kids.

Episode Highlights

  • 01:10 – Sharon talks about her journey of how she reached where she is right now.
  • 03:00 – When Sharon’s second child was diagnosed with Autism that changed the dynamic resulting in working very little in legal practice for a few years while raising kids.
  • 04:55 - Sharon made the transition from her law firm to start a new firm in January of 2020, right before COVID, which was a scary time and a big risk.
  • 07:00 - One of the reasons Ricky and Sharon were able to form a good partnership is because their practices have been compatible.
  • 08:40 – Bill asks how has life changed for Sharon in her 50s when she compares it to her younger self.
  • 10:55 – Sharon mentions that she didn't want to pay for other people's retirement, instead she wanted to focus on paying for her retirement.
  • 13:06 - One thing that both Ricky and Sharon have to deal with is how to transition their practice. They don't want it to just die, but they would like to be able to transition it.
  • 15:30 - If you have a special needs child, and if they need the qualifications, you have to get that process done in a judge's signature on an order before their 18th birthday.
  • 17:30 – Bill discusses the importance of retirement planning at the right time because that is the time when you're in some version of sand at the bottom and little grains at the top, you never know.
  • 19:40 – Every year when you're doing your taxes, that's a good time to update the list of your financial advisor, phone number, policy number, etc. Advises Sharon.
  • 21:10 - Sharon thinks that as you get older, there's not a great need to look at your will every year.
  • 22:45 – Sharon states that their retirement is focused on making sure that the child is taken care of because they don't want him to be a burden on the other kids.
  • 25:21 – Bill enquires about Sharon’s favorite go-to restaurant.

Three Key Points

  1. Sharon says that through the years, she had the opportunity to work with some great attorneys. Through that process, you refine the areas that you like to practice in, you find what you're good at, and by that process, you develop specialties. So, through that process, Sharon has had a lot of good folks that she has worked with over the years.
  2. The most common problem according to Sharon is that people wait too long to try to do estate planning due to different reasons. Some people do not want to face their mortality, so they don't want to think about dying or being incapacitated in their old age so they ignore it, which is weird.
  3. If you have a safety deposit box, then make sure you tell somebody which bank and where you keep the key. Otherwise, what we have to do as part of the succession is hire a locksmith, get a court order, go to the bank and drill it open.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “It was not a straight path, a lot of curves in the road.” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “We decided to start a non-profit for young adults with Autism to do a transition program.” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “Let's talk about some good advice you have along the way in your career.” – Bill Bush
  • “Having a child with autism changes a lot, it changes your outlook on a lot of things.” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “A lot of law firms have mandatory retirement ages.” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “What were people missing the boat on the planning aspect and leaving legacies.” - Bill Bush
  • “You get this feeling when you turn 50 like okay, “I'm probably more than halfway done with my life.” - Bill Bush
  • “So those are the little things that you tell people in terms of how often should you look at changing and updating?” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “I've had some clients who looked at their wills every day because they were so fixated on their mortality.” - Sharon Whitlow
  • “Our focus is more on taking care of this child when we're gone.” - Sharon Whitlow

Resources Mentioned

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