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Last month, I gave a speech at the Bronxville Public Library that was entitled “Estate Planning/Elder Law 101: Estate Planning to Preserve Your Assets.”  The event was well-attended, and I had a very lively “Q&A” discussion with the audience.   At the end of the discussion, I was approached by documentary filmmaker Tom Garber, who told me that he had just completed a film called “Will Power” (subtitled “Surviving Estate Planning, Eldercare, and Siblings”).  He asked if I would take a look at it.

I had the impression that it was an educational film, and I wondered whether it would be accurate and would hold my interest.   So, I decided to have a look.  The DVD that Tom sent me had a short version, and a long version.  I started with the short version, thinking that I might not want to bother with the long version.

In fact, after watching the short version, I wanted to know more and went right to the long version, and wound up watching it twice.  The film was a very engaging and compelling personal story, and it contained valuable lessons and advice at the same time.  I was really impressed.

After seeing the film, I volunteered a testimonial to Tom.  Here is what I said:

“This is filmmaking at its best.  I found it to be a very moving, personal story of discord among siblings regarding the care of an aging mother, and valuable real estate that had been in the family for generations.  While the parents’ intentions were evident, their estate plan was thwarted when two of the children took unfair legal advantage.  As an Elder Law attorney, I appreciate the filmmaker’s message about the why and the how of planning for elder care and your estate.  At the same time, his message does not overpower the cinematic quality of the film, which tells a compelling story of one family’s struggle with these issues.”

As an Elder Law attorney, I am frequently dealing with individuals and families regarding these issues, and am acutely aware of how emotional and difficult it can be for them.  Good planning means anticipating problems and contingencies, and developing effective solutions in advance.   However, for obvious reasons, many people simply do not want to think about aging, declining health, mental incapacity, or their own mortality.

Tom Garber’s film very effectively conveys the importance of good planning, by telling a very personal story about his own family’s failures in this regard, and the contentious aftermath.  I recommend this film very highly, both as an educational and cinematic experience.

“Will Power” is having its world premiere on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, which is National Senior Health and Fitness Day.  Tom tells me that the film is available for unlimited free streaming for 7 days, and a 20% discount if you want to purchase it on DVD.  The offer starts on May 30th at 12PM EDT on the film’s website:


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