This panel discussion recorded at the Before I Die New Mexico Festival Symposium focuses on legal and financial issues related to end-of-life. The panelists are Jim Plitz, attorney and partner with Morris Hall estate planning attorneys; Betsy Ehrenberg, founder of Legacy Concierge; and Carl Wackerle, Vice President of Individual Life and Annuity Sales at National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL).
Among the topics discussed:
- The role wills, trusts and advance medical directives play to minimize family conflict and stress after there’s a death in the family.
- What digital assets are and the best ways to manage shutting down an online life after the owner of those assets dies.
- How insurance allows people to have a pool of money to take care of the financial burdens that a death in the family generates.
Meet the Speakers
Carl Wackerle is Vice President of Individual Life and Annuity Sales at National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL). He has served in a variety of capacities in his 18 years with the company initially as Preneed Marketing Coordinator, Assistant Vice President and Regional Vice President before assuming his current position.
Carl has spent several years working to develop the Asset Transfer/Asset Protection product line as NGL has become a Market Leader in this rapidly growing product area.
Carl is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and he and his wife, Kathy, who have 4 grown children, live in Waunakee, Wisconsin, just outside of Madison.
James “Jim” Plitz graduated magna cum laude and at the top of his class with his Juris Doctorate from the Phoenix School of Law, and attained the 2nd highest score on the February 2011 Arizona bar exam. He then passed the July 2011 bar exam in New Mexico. During school, he also enjoyed great success and honors as part of the Phoenix Law Review – both as an editor and a contributing writer.
Jim has been with Morris Hall since 2009, and in 2016 was made a partner at the firm. Jim has enjoyed his tenure with Morris Hall, helping with their mission to protect the estates of each client, providing them with the peace of mind they deserve. He takes pride in creating personalized solutions and developing lasting relationships with his clients. Jim has provided education to many organizations around New Mexico, teaching the importance of proper estate planning. Jim is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and Arizona and is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
Jim also stays active in the communities he serves. He is a charter member of Men Go Red NM, a part of the American Heart Association, and a member of the Santa Fe Rotary Club. He also provides resources and assistance to animal rescue and adoption.
Jim enjoys listening to all genres of music and is learning to play the piano and guitar. He is an avid fan of all sports, but truly enjoys soccer and is a member of a local team.
Betsy Ehrenberg is the CEO of Legacy Concierge. She has successfully started, built and sold two software companies. Betsy is highly adept in analyzing business operations, bottlenecks and developing software solutions for those needs, as well as conceiving and executing successful marketing plans. Because of her expertise in these areas, Betsy has served on the Board of Directors of a variety of start-up firms in Silicon Valley and New Mexico. She also founded two non-profits to further the business careers of artists and supporting international museum glass art exhibitions.
In order to establish Legacy Concierge, she contacted close to 200 businesses and government agencies to learn about their procedures to locate, identify and protect digital assets of a decedent. By interviewing over 100 attorneys, financial advisors and wealth managers nationwide she identified risks taken when digital assets were not secured. During this time, she analyzed New Mexico’s Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets legislation permitting fiduciary access to digital assets. Betsy attended State Bar Association meetings, Estate Planning Council presentations and National Trust & Estate conferences.
Betsy has been awarded and recognized in a variety of areas including C-Suite Leaders in New Mexico, Silicon Valley Business Woman of the Year, Keynote Speaker at the Association for Computer Operations Management, and a featured speaker about Biometric Identification at Washington DC’s Security Symposium. Betsy attended computer science classes at Carnegie Tech and attended graduate level business school classes at Harvard University.
About the Before I Die New Mexico Festival
The six-day Before I Die New Mexico Festival offered activities to get us thinking about, talking about and doing something about our 100% mortality rate. Events took place October 30 to November 4, 2018, at multiple locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Belen.
Thank you to the sponsors and partners who made the Before I Die New Mexico Festival possible:
- A Good Goodbye Death educator Gail Rubin puts the “fun” in funeral planning.
- EternityGardens.com Giving families looking for a final resting place for cremated remains guidance on the range of options available for people and pets.
- National Guardian Life Insurance Company For more than 100 years, one of America’s most successful and highly rated independent mutual life insurance companies.
- FRENCH Funerals and Cremations Albuquerque’s largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company.
- Morris Hall New Mexico’s premiere estate planning attorneys.
- EstatePros Your expert resource for property organization, distribution and administration.
- Legacy Concierge Helping prevent identity theft, secure digital access to online accounts, and provide a host of other important services to the families of the deceased.
- Passages International A leading provider of environmentally friendly funeral options for burial and cremated remains.
- Zia Trust The Advisors’ Trust Company®.
Partners were La Puerta Natural Burial Ground, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico, Guild Cinema, Berardinelli Family Funeral Service, Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, Compassion & Choices NM Action Team, Daniels Family Funeral Services, Catholic Cemetery Association, and LifeIZShort.com.