When the attorney Martin Shenkman saw that the legal, financial planning and certified public accounting professions were frequently overlooking the nuances of estate and financial planning for the at least 120 million Americans living with a chronic illness, particularly the chronic illness multiple sclerosis, he set out to change that reality in order to educate professional advisers, spur awareness and raise funds to end MS
For Marty, as he is known to his friends, perhaps this empathy was born out of first hand experience when his wife Patti was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and he realized that her diagnosis had triggered changes that forever affected their lives and plans for the future. With that in mind, Marty and Patti educated themselves about living with MS and its potential long-term emotional and financial costs, which can be extensive along with all the planning changes.
As they immersed themselves in preparing for the future, Marty applied his estate planning strategies to accommodate for Patti’s chronic illness and the unique unpredictable elements of living with MS. He also made adjustments to his life insurance holdings, trusts and other financial planning tools. Realizing that other families living with MS or other chronic illnesses could benefit from this type of specific estate planning advice, Marty began donating hundreds of hours of his professional time to the Society. “I can give back to the Society by sharing my special expertise.” His efforts are driven by one fuel, his love for Patti. “Watching someone you love struggle with an incurable disease like MS is horribly disempowering. Being proactive to help Patti also helps others with MS as well as virtually anyone living with chronic illness along with their loved ones, and it is the best antidote to that helpless feeling.”
His latest creative venture is RV4TheCause, a unique program in which Marty is bringing his expertise to the doorstep of financial advisors in order to assist them with the practical tools they need in being more effective resources for their clients with chronic illness. Combining his desire to help his wife travel more comfortably, his commitment to helping prevent chronic illness from destroying families’ lives, and his dedication to building awareness for charities that serve the chronically ill, Marty is taking to the road with his wife Patti and her Norfolk Terrier service dog Elvis in his Airstream RV. The team will provide free seminars and events where professionals can earn education credits, through Lorman Education Services, while networking with other local professionals. NAPFA (the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) has likewise come on board as a sponsor of the RV4TheCause project.
For more details on Marty’s seminars visit RV4TheCause.org or join Marty and Patti on Facebook at facebook.com/rv4thecause.