Our Head of Partnerships Gabe Caldwell recently interviewed Nakia Linzie-Shavers, Owner of The Gift Life Planning Services, as part of our ongoing Expert Interview Series. Their conversation covered a wide range of topics, including growing the Life Planning practice at The Gift, trends and tips for families looking to plan for end of life, and partnering with Addio. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat.
Gabe: Can you start by telling us about Schmid Jacobs Law?
Gayanne: Schmid Jacobs Law is a full service family law office based in Holladay, UT, just outside of Salt Lake City, which has been in practice for the past 14 years.
Gabe: What services do you provide for your clients?
Gayanne: We help families with estate planning, guardianship and conservatorship, divorce, custody, parentage, domestic violence, step-parent adoptions & other family related matters.
Gabe: How do you help families that are looking to plan for end-of-life?
Gayanne: We help families put together their estate plan on the front side and then when someone passes away we help their families navigate probate, and administer and distribute the estate, including help with estate auctions. When it comes to estate planning, we meet with families to understand their full situation and family dynamics to make sure we put together a plan that helps them to achieve their goals and protect their loved ones.
Once we understand the client’s goals, we build the appropriate estate plan which typically includes a last will and testament, durable financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, living will and a trust if it is necessary.
If a family is blended or has minors and wants to control when minors receive distributions and for what purpose, if there is a business, or real estate in multiple states, we will encourage families to create a trust. Trusts also ensure that family members will be cared for in cases of incapacity. We have the ability to create revocable living trusts, irrevocable living trusts, family trusts, trusts for valued pets and more as needed.
Gabe: Can you start by telling us a bit about The Gift Life Planning Services?
Nakia: Sure. The Gift Life Planning Services (The Gift LPS) is a consultant service to assist individuals and families with their Advance Life Directives. These can be tough conversations to facilitate. We are here to guide families and also provide supportive counseling services.
Gabe: What services do you provide for your clients?
Nakia: We provide advance life planning, mental health counseling and support groups for families.
We educate and guide families through the process of preparing necessary and important directives for sickness, incapacitation, and death. These can be hard conversations, but they are necessary. We are here to help complete these conversations and get them documented. We lose assets, wealth, and too often relationships for failing to complete this essential task.
We provide consultations through seminars, group presentations, speaking engagements, and private sessions.
Gabe: I’m curious about your career story. What is your background and training in working with families around end-of-life?
Nakia: I graduated from the California State University with a Master’s degree in Social Work & became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of California.
I’ve spent the past 16+ years working in the hospital in different roles in palliative care, providing services for families around death, dismemberment, disfigurement, and disability. During this time, I have worked with hundreds of families.
Gabe: Oh wow! That is a ton of experience. Have you noticed any common pain points or trends for families that you worked with?
Nakia: Lots of trends. The main trend that I quickly noticed was that people avoid talking about death and planning for it.
This becomes a big issue for families as a loved one is approaching end-of-life because health care professionals and families have no idea what their wishes are if they become incapacitated or who has the power to make medical and financial decisions. I’ve unfortunately seen lots of people not able to get the care they would have wanted, arguments that broke apart families, and guilt that was carried on by surviving family members.
Gabe: This is heart wrenching. Is this what inspired you to create The Gift and start helping families plan for end-of-life?
Nakia: Heart wrenching is an understatement. Yes, after watching family after family not have this simple box checked, I created a binder that walked families through completing their Advance Directive, Financial Power of Attorney, and a letter that they could send out to their families to start the conversation. We also found that helping to facilitate family conversations was very important as they can be intimidating and easy to put off.
Gabe: What would you say are the top three reasons to put together an end-of-life plan?
Nakia: There are so many, but I’d say the top three would be making sure a loved ones health care wishes are known to the family in case they become incapacitated. The second would be avoiding probate and protecting family wealth being passed down to the next generation. The third and final would be protecting the family from stress, guilt, and arguments that come when a loved one's wishes are not known.
Gabe: This is an incredible service that you offer that so many families need and a good transition to talk about how we started working together. Why did you decide to partner with Addio?
Nakia: I have been envisioning a digital product of our binder for years now, but I am not a software engineer. When I came across Addio, it was a eureka moment, as it was exactly what I had envisioned and more. Addio streamlines the experience of putting together an end-of-life plan where a family can do this from the convenience of their own home in sometimes less than an hour. This is a huge benefit as families are stretched thin on time and can easily put this off.
Gabe: How do you plan on partnering with Addio?
Nakia: We will be offering Addio as part of our service to families. Our team will support families in building out their plans, facilitating conversations with families and supporting them throughout the entire process.
Gabe: Let’s end with the lightning round. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?
Nakia: I love going to Jazz concerts and watching football, preferably the Raiders :)
Gabe: What’s your favorite TV show, past or present?
Nakia: A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.
Gabe: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday?
Nakia: I love tacos!
The Gift Life Planning Services (The Gift LPS) is a consultant service to assist individuals and families with their Advance Life Directives. Their passion is to educate and guide families through the process of preparing necessary and important directives for sickness, incapacitation, and death.
For families looking for guidance and supportive counseling services, you can contact Nakia and her team by visiting their website.
Every customer gets a complimentary call with one of our Family Guides.