Case Study: Ilsa

Ilsa and her partner, Pat, have been together for over two decades and are a loving couple who are compatible in many ways. They both have successful careers and because of their age difference, Ilsa had some concerns about how each would be affected by the other’s death in regards to their assets.  They had very different perspectives when it came to their assets, their respective families’ financial pictures, and their end-of-life planning.  Ilsa knew she had to create a plan, but shied away from having a conversation with Pat about it because of their differences.  

"Emily is very gifted at asking the right questions, being non-judgmental and offering honest feedback and advice, based on her years of personal experience."

Emily’s initial conversation with Ilsa centered around the specifics of their family structures and what Ilsa perceived as the areas of discordance with Pat.  They brainstormed about various scenarios and the potential communications and outcomes that each scenario would produce. The goal was to find a scenario that would produce a meaningful conversation rather than a confrontation. Emily and Ilsa then role-played the conversations, so that Ilsa could get more comfortable with what she truly felt and be able to speak from a more authentic stance. Emily also helped Ilsa articulate what was important to her in a loving way, so that Pat could feel more confident about Ilsa’s desire to respect and honor Pat’s feelings about her relatives. Emily also suggested options that Ilsa could initiate during her lifetime, so she could enjoy watching her loved ones benefit from her generosity as well as illustrate to Pat her interest in helping Pat’s immediate family along with her own.

From there, Emily created a list of items that Ilsa could act on with and without Pat’s input to help her get a sense of what were the pieces that Pat influenced.  This list also included items that her estate lawyer, her accountant, and money manager would need to address

Ilsa was then able to meet with her estate lawyer to begin the process, have productive conversations with Pat and avoid the unnecessary conflict that can occur when couples discuss their financial situation.