As a lawyer, I meet and interact with people from all walks of life. Rich and poor, young and old, working and retired.
And as readers of this blog will know, a good part of my law practice is dedicated to estate planning. All of us, regardless of background, education, or wealth, have an expiration date, and most of us want to have a plan for what to do with what we leave behind.
Most of us aren't faced with the kind of dilemma faced by Bill Gates, who famously backed the "Giving Pledge" campaign challenging many of the wealthiest people of the world to give the majority of their net worth to philanthropy.
But I am often surprised too at the wealth amassed by people of relatively modest means. People who have worked very ordinary jobs for a very long time, but through sheer determination and willpower are able to accumulate significant wealth.
I came across one such story today in the case of the late Robert Murin. Mr. Murin was a University of New Hampshire librarian for over 50 years who was known to live very simply. So simply, in fact, that he was able to accumulate quite an estate prior to his death in 2015 at age 77.
The fruits of Mr. Murin's austere lifestyle are now being enjoyed by his beloved alma mater and employer, to the tune of a $4 Million gift from his estate to the University of New Hampshire.
Estate planning is all about goals. For some, the goal is enjoy the fruits of labor during their own lives--they take the approach that you "can't take it with you when yo go." For others, the goal may be to leave something to help their family, or to fund some philanthropic cause.
But whatever your goals may be, cases like that of Robert Murin show just how much can be achieved, even with modest resources, if you are willing to sacrifice and commit to making that plan successful.