As in all healthy marriages, Mike and Michelle Arulfo don’t always see eye to eye. One of those minor conflicts was over estate planning. Michelle was ready, but Mike, she says, “wasn’t ready to talk about end-of-life and felt we were too young to start planning.”
“It was easy to postpone,” Mike admits. “There was no sense of urgency.”
Michelle, who is a Corporate Strategy Director at Elevance Health, knew Rachel Schromen from the Minneapolis Women’s Rotary. So, when Michelle won estate planning with Schromen Law, LLC at a silent auction, Mike had no more excuses. The opportunity presented itself, and the timing was right.
“We knew it was important to do,” Michelle says.
“We had a vision for what we value,” Mike adds, “what we want to represent.”
An essential part of the legacy for the Arulfos is giving back.
As an immigrant, Mike experienced firsthand the difference strong support can make as he carved out the path to his current work as an AI architect with Boston Scientific. “I’ve always felt the importance of leaving a legacy to the universities and organizations that have supported me as I’ve built a career,” he says. “Even when I was in college, I made a promise to myself that once I was in the position to make a difference, I would do whatever I could to improve the path I walked on.”
That means charitable giving was at the forefront of Mike and Michelle’s minds when they completed their estate planning with Schromen Law. “You can do a lot with financial contributions to the missions of organizations you believe in,” Mike encourages.
Because Mike was initially reluctant to start the process, he was grateful that Rachel was “flexible and accommodating. She made an uncomfortable process feel natural.”
Michelle adds, “Rachel made it so accessible and easy. Our initial meeting wasn’t so business-y.”
Still, talking about death wasn’t always comfortable.
“Some of the questions feel morbid,” Mike says. “It’s not natural to talk about death at this stage in our lives. It’s weird and uncomfortable, so you have to power your way through it.”
Talking through options for their healthcare directives wasn’t always easy; however, “it was fun to talk about the difference we could make in people’s lives through planned estate giving,” Michelle says. For the Arulfos, that was their ultimate objective. “That motivates you to get through [the death talk], as awkward as it may be,” Mike adds.
After getting the process started and powering through the challenging conversations, Mike and Michelle were soon celebrating the signing of their documents.
“It was like an achievement,” Mike says of the feeling at the end of the process. “We’ve taken a positive step and made genuine progress on something I’d put off for years.”
Michelle adds, “It feels so much better having it done than the constant ‘I should do this’ in the back of my mind. It takes it off the plate. Now it’s done, and it feels really good.”