Vickie Schumacher is nationally known for her ability to explain the benefits of living trusts and estate planning in clear, conversational English. She has a unique perspective on what consumers want, what they understand, and what motivates them when it comes to estate planning—because she is a consumer, too. Vickie knows firsthand about being a business owner, being divorced and a single parent, caring for aging parents, and blended families—life experiences and concerns she shares with many of her readers.
“When I first heard about a living trust,” says Vickie, “I thought, like most people, that a trust was for the wealthy and estate planning was for seniors.” As she learned more, she became convinced that people of all ages needed to know this information. She began to ask questions and then to write about living trusts. Vickie, formerly a regional head of communications for a major employee benefits firm, was already an award-winning writer, nationally recognized for her abilities to communicate “legalese” in accurate, understandable English.
In 1988, she proudly finished the first edition of the book—and was promptly rejected by more than 20 publishers, who didn’t think there was enough of a market for her book. But Vickie knew the information would be important to consumers and believed in it enough to self-publish. Initially she was also met with resistance from the legal profession, which was slow to recognize the interest from consumers. But it wasn’t long before the book took off. The first edition sold more than 50,000 copies. Understanding Living Trusts® has now sold almost 400,000 copies and has become a favorite of consumers and professionals.
The book’s success led Vickie to being a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows, and a keynote speaker at standing-room-only seminars. She has received praise in Modern Maturity and other publications. She is the creator of a line of brochures, special reports, presentations, and website content used by thousands of attorneys, banks, and financial professionals nationwide. For several years, she also wrote client and professional newsletters, website articles, and blog content for WealthCounsel, LLC, a premier network of estate planning attorneys. In 2012, she sold the business and has now returned to being an author and writer.
For those who have followed Vickie and her family over the years, here is a brief personal update. Both sons are now grown and out of college. JJ is a Captain in the US Army and a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. Charlie is an actor, writer, and CrossFit coach in New York City. In 2008, she married Tom, a contractor, and gained his two grown children: Olivia, a city planner, and Bruce, an architect. Olivia had the first grandbaby in 2014. Vickie and Tom are enjoying their almost-empty nest with two cats, and are considering adding a golden retriever to the household again.