Leaving a “spiritual legacy”

October 18, 2012
By David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer (Sun-Sentinel)

11:07 a.m. EDT, October 18, 2012

 Alice Reiter Feld seminar

Attorney Alice Reiter Feld thinks that leaving family members a “spiritual legacy” can be as important as leaving them money and possessions.

“Monetary gifts are not the only gifts we give to people,” Feld said during a recent presentation at Temple Sinai inDelray Beach. A “spiritual legacy,” she explained, involves life experience, values and what we want to leave behind.

“You may think your kids don’t want that now but they will when you are gone,” Feld said. “By talking about our spiritual journey we live forever.”

Feld said she counsels clients in her Coral Springs-based elder law practice to leave their heirs “good thoughts, good deeds, no problems and good memories” and to give their families the estate planning tools to do that.

A living will, power of attorney and designation of a health care surrogate are part of an estate plan, she said. But a living will can express end-of-life wishes in language that goes beyond the language of the law. She advised to make it personal in language like, “You are performing a true act of devotion by taking me off life support.”

Other things, like housing options — living at home or in a nursing home — and pre-need funeral arrangements can be part of a living will.

“These are things people don’t do because that would mean recognizing their mortality and that is painful,” Feld said.

Marcia London of Boca Raton said because of the estate plan that she and her husband developed with their attorney, when her husband died four-and-a-half years ago, “He left me with ease. I was able to transfer everything to my name.”

London said she wants to give her son and grandchildren that same ease. “I want them to move gently into the next phase, just as I moved into the next phase of my life,” she said.

Thelma Rosenblum, 87, of Delray Beach, said she and her husband Lester, 92, have been updating their will since the 1970s but she didn’t realize that there were changes in the law regarding the power of attorney. “I’m so glad I sat in on this

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because it is something that has to be done,” she said. “I want everything to be done smoothly.”

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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