Sapere Vedere — For Estate Plans


Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with having invented over 500 years ago the airplane, the helicopter, the crane, and the parachute, as well as many other extraordinary innovations. His paintings of the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper and his sculptures are some of the best-known works of art.

Da Vinci had a personal motto: Sapere Vedere. He credited this with driving many of his life-long innovations.  Sapere means knowing; vedere means seeing.  Sapere  Vedere roughly means “believing is seeing.” It’s a stark contrast from Missouri’s reputation as the “Show Me” state, where “seeing is believing.”

We all get “seeing is believing,” but believing then seeing is a little tougher to picture. You start with your head, then turn to your heart. Only after that, can you see and do. It is a reversal for a lot of things we do in life. You have to picture this idea first before it actually appears.  Da Vinci uses the example of seeing the sculpture inside a block of marble.

Here at Coyle Financial, we see the challenge often when people confront estate planning. They are coming in to address their death. It’s no fun; it is very emotional. They may suffer through a lot of pain and misery to get their estate planning done.

No one wants to face their death but it is a “believing is seeing” transition plan. Of course, when you die, you don’t go through the transition, your family does. Estate planning creates an opportunity to make them aware of what you want in advance. In this case, you have to truly believe to see.

It’s not one of those “when I come to that bridge, I will cross it” situations. When you come to the bridge, you’ve already crossded it. You really have to believe and see that bridge first.

Why is this so critical?  Because for those who remain it is very important to understand what their loved ones wanted. You have probably been in this situation yourself as a grandchild, a son or a daughter. What did they want you to take away besides the money? What were all their non-financial hopes and desires?

The money part is usually a key driver for this decision making. But go beyond that, what are your hopes and desires? Take a page from our renaissance master. Start with a “believing is seeing” approach.  Push yourself to ask: What does it look like? What am I trying to create?

Believe it, see it. Then get that plan put together.  We have found that those who do this start to look at things a little differently. They can look a step or two beyond.

During the next post, I am going to look a little deeper. So stay tuned next week. I’ll go through some examples of what others have done to make this work really well for them. There are few steps you can take to take some of the sting out of this whole estate and death issue. It’s an issue that we all have to deal with — eventually.

Believe it and see it. And until next time, enjoy!

Send me your response, query or comment to gklaben@coylefinancial.com.