Farewell, Industry Legend Steve Leimberg

The great Steve Leimberg has died, leaving the estate planning landscape larger and more vibrant than he found it but still diminished in his absence.

Leimberg’s newsletters and textbooks were essential reading in the field. As an educator with the American College of Financial Services and other institutions, he influenced multiple generations of attorneys and fiduciary professionals.

He was 79. I think it’s worth noting that his death was noted early in the photographic community, where he was also a popular and award-winning figure.

The professional standards he nourished and the industry innovations he pursued are endless. However, the private life was always there. With the photography, he made time for what others would consider a separate career in itself.

He undoubtedly planned his legacy with exemplary care. It will serve as a final lesson to those who follow in his wake.

Looking back, I think the best tribute to him we can make is by pointing you to an essay he distributed in early 2020, when a lot of estate planning conversations needed to accelerate fast in a moment when COVID constrained advisors’ ability to cope. It's about death and unfinished business.

Steve Leimberg on Dying and Death - What Every Financial Services Professional Needs to Know


The current coronavirus pandemic is a “moment of awakening and focus” for everyone throughout the world with regard to the inevitability of dying and death. 

Yet I suspect that all too many individuals in our country do not have the proper end-of-life documents for a very simple but very human reason; we professionals have difficulty, both as professionals and as family-members, bringing up and talking about the subjects of dying and death. This commentary is about the psychological aspects of dying and death – and what you as a planner – and as a human – need to know.

We are – EACH OF US - in the middle of a life-threatening pandemic – so at no time in the memory of anyone still walking today is the subject of death and dying more on our minds.

This commentary will cover why every member of the estate planning team must think and know more about the psychology of death and dying.  I’ll cover the five payoffs of the estate planning process – beyond tax savings and appropriate disposition of assets – why we as professionals need to be more involved as counselors – and the feelings our clients are likely to go through in their late aging and dying process.  I’ll also cover success factors in working with clients – and the emotional problems of the survivors and the tools you have to help them get through their most difficult trials. (MORE)


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