“I’m in a meeting with my attorney.” I actually responded to a text earlier today with that message.
If you know me, you know how crazy-weird that sounds. I’ve never had an attorney. Thankfully, I’ve never had a need for an attorney. But as Lee and I prepare to transition to full-time mission work and, hopefully, move to a foreign country, we thought it would be prudent to sit down and get our affairs in order. This means estate planning and making sure our bases are covered in case decisions need to be made and we’re not capable of making them.
I have an attorney as a result of a work friendship that was established nearly two decades ago. Back when Verizon was still GTE, Bryan Devolder and I manned a helpdesk and goofed off a lot. We were young and silly and ambitious and young, and we maintained our friendship as we went down separate career paths within the company.
We kept in touch through life changes: divorce, kids, new house, new spouse, and continuing education. In my case, it was Bible college. In the case of Bryan and his wife Elizabeth, it was law school. When they opened their firm, it was exhilarating for me, having seen them go through the process, work really hard, and trust God along the way.
So as I sat across the table from Elizabeth as she explained the ins and outs of who gets what in the event God calls me home sooner than I am anticipating, there is something to be said about the comfort level I had in having that conversation. It’s a comfort level made possible by the fact I’ve known Bryan and Elizabeth socially for years before needing to engage with them professionally. It’s a comfort level that’s made possible in part by the fact my kid has babysat their kids.
In the end, comfort level translates to trust, and what I want more than anything in my attorney is their competence and my ability to trust them. It also doesn’t suck that they’re my friends.