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Sharon Baker-Boykin: Transforming Estate Planning with Legacy Love Letters

By Tammy Reese | Saturday, May 25, 2024 | 2:30 PM ET



From attorney to author, Sharon Baker-Boykin has dedicated her career to bringing clarity to her clients’ legal lives. With a rich background in law and government, she founded Power of 1 Decision, LLC, to help individuals and families navigate the often complex legal world of estate planning and other areas that she has experience in. Sharon’s unique approach of estate planning, which she terms “Legacy Love Letters,” focuses on ensuring that one’s assets are thoughtfully and lovingly passed down to loved ones, religious organizations, and charitable entities. Through her work, Sharon aims to eliminate the legal chaos that often accompanies the passing of a loved one, replacing it with peace of mind and structured planning.


We are honored to interview you today! Thank you for taking the time to provide a comprehensive and heartfelt perspective on estate planning through the lens of Legacy Love Letters, offering valuable insights and practical advice to Vision and Purpose Lifestyle Magazine readers.


Please tell us about all things related to your estate planning business and services.


Sharon: Thank you so much for the interview. I am a licensed attorney in Georgia for 40 years. I have done a lot of things in my legal career. I have been in private practice, an Assistant District Attorney, a Special Assistant Attorney General, and worked in state government. This estate planning business is very important to me for personal and business reasons. My father passed the Friday before Father’s Day in 2018. Then my family suffered the passing of a family member in July, August, September, October, November, December, and January. Then 4 months later, in May of 2019, I became the first Probate Court Administrator in DeKalb County, GA. So I experienced the pain internally with all of the family members who passed, and I watched how families also dealt with the passing of family members from the Court’s perspective, whether the family member who passed did or did not have their stuff in order.


So I do Legal Life Coaching and I meet with singles, couples, families and groups to educate them on the law and their options to leave their stuff to those who they love and want to support. We discuss Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Living Wills, Health Care Agents, Life Insurance, Property Deeds, Bank Accounts, and many other things. We discuss the things that people need to be aware of and their options in how they want things to be set up regarding their stuff. I want them to be aware that it is their right to make powerful decisions instead of doing nothing and allowing their state makes the decisions about their stuff. They may not like how their state will handle these items.





What preliminary tools or documents do you recommend for individuals to have to get started with the estate planning process?


Sharon: I have a book, “Help Me Get My Stuff In Order” which is a workbook for you to make a decision about all of your stuff. This is the start. Then we will have our consultation to discuss what you want to do and we will examine all of your options. Is it a Will or a Trust? I now call these with a kinder name of “Legacy Love Letter” because you are creating a Legacy of who you will leave your stuff to. It is with Love because you care about those you want to leave stuff to. It is a Letter because it is a written document, signed, witnessed and is now legal of what you want to do with your stuff.


What are some of the biggest challenges people face when trying to create a Legacy Love Letter, and how can they overcome them?


Sharon: There are some myths that people accept but are not factual. I have a free eBook entitled, “7 Reasons Why Professionals Lose What They Have Worked So Hard in Acquiring,” that is available at www.HelpMeGetMyStuffInOrder.com. Some of those reasons include:


  1. Some people think that if they do their estate plan, they are telling God that they are ready to die. We know that this is false. We all have a date that we were born on and we have a date that we will transition from this life. It does not matter if you have your stuff in order or not. We don’t know when the second date will occur.

  2. Some people think that they do not have anything that others would want. We know that this is false. Someone probably has their eye on something you have right now. It is not about how much your stuff costs. You have worked hard to acquire stuff and shouldn’t you determine who gets it when you transition.

  3. Some people think that it costs too much money to do a plan. This is also a false belief. It costs more money in legal and court fees when you do not have your stuff in order. One of the steps when you die without your stuff in order is that the court will have a notice filed in the legal section of the newspaper in your county to let the world know that you died without your stuff in order. In Georgia, this notice has to run for 4 consecutive weeks. This notice is for your heirs and creditors get legal notice of your passing and for them to file a claim for some of your stuff. There is a cost for this to the newspaper to file this notice and now everyone knows that you died without having your stuff in order.

  4. These are just 3 of the 7 reasons why people do not get their stuff in order. There are more reasons discussed in the free eBookwww.helpmegetmystuffinorder.com.





How can individuals ensure that their Legacy Love Letters are comprehensive and legally sound?


Sharon: As the Legal Life Coach, I will take the time to explain the process to you. Once you decide which items that you want to execute, then that is the next step. Some things you can do on your own. If you need an attorney, I am here to help you. If you live in another state, I can also help you with referrals to attorneys who will help you finalize the Legacy Love Letters that you have decided that you want for your stuff.


What additional advice do you have for someone who is just starting to think about creating their own Legacy Love Letter?


Sharon: Timing is very important. We don’t know when our transition date will occur. Everyone has a date. We are living in the dash between the date we were born and that transition date. Don’t procrastinate on this issue. Earlier in my career, I had a client to come and see me. She was in her mid-eighties. She brought me 10 sheets of notebook paper where she listed everything she owned and who she wanted to leave it to when she transitioned. She was not sick. Her comment to me was that she had gone through so many family fights over stuff when other family members transitioned. She did not want any fights over her stuff. We put her desire into legal form. She came back to sign her documents. She said, “Now I can enjoy the rest of my life knowing that when my time comes, there won’t be any fighting because I have decided who gets my stuff.” She has been one of the smartest clients because in her mid-eighties, she got her stuff in order.


What else is vital for our readers to know at this time?


Sharon: Do it now and stop delaying this important task.


How can people learn more about your work and get in touch with you for further guidance?


Sharon: My website is https://www.legallifecoachsharonbaker.com/ and I am here to work with you to get your stuff in order.



 


Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media, Tammy Reese is an award-winning writer and journalist best known for landing major interviews with Angela Bassett, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver, Laurence Fishburne, Geena Davis, Billy Porter, Morris Chestnut, Nelly, Mona Scott Young, Giancarlo Esposito, Luke Evans, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jennifer Connelly, Joseph Sikora, Meagan Good, Leon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Phylicia Rashad, Omar Epps, Courtney Kemp, Vivica A Fox, Ryan Coogler, and so many more.


She is a proud member of ForbesBLK as well as New York Women in Film and Television.


Other articles by Tammy Reese in Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine.


 



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