Estate plan helps retired physician create lasting legacy

Estate plan helps retired physician create lasting legacy

Walter Frank, M.D., was a pioneer of cardiology at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. He joined what was then Bismarck Hospital in 1979 and over the next 34 years helped establish the first modern catheterization lab as well as nuclear cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation and other lifesaving heart programs.

“It was a lot of work, but it was very exciting,” Dr. Frank said. “It was very rewarding and always interesting to be on the leading edge of cardiology.”

But for Dr. Frank, the best part of the job was getting to know his patients. He made a point to spend time talking with them, rather than looking at charts.

“I still believe in talking to people and connecting with the patient,” Dr. Frank said. “The best part of my job was creating long relationships with the patients and helping people who were sick get better and stay better.”

Dr. Frank retired four years ago, but his legacy lives on through his impact as a physician and as a donor to the Sanford Health Foundation. Dr. Frank and his wife, Carolyn, have been loyal supporters for many years.

“We believe in being part of the community and giving back to the community,” Dr. Frank said. “This hospital has been a part of my life for a long time, and I would like to see it rise.”

Planning a legacy

The Franks established the Dr. Walter and Carolyn Frank Endowment for Cardiology and participated in the Thompson & Associates’ values-based estate planning.

“I went in with a little bit of skepticism,” Dr. Frank said. “I thought it might be like a timeshare presentation, but it was nothing like that. There was no pressure and no obligation.”

Thompson & Associates helped the Franks find the best ways to give back based on their personal goals. The six sessions also fit their busy schedules. Since Dr. Frank’s retirement, the couple has enjoyed traveling the country and beyond.

“I thought I knew quite a bit about financial planning,” Dr. Frank said. “The process gave me more confidence in what I did know and also helped me learn new things. I came out really impressed. It showed us how to give more efficiently and helped us talk to each other about our personal goals.”

Way to be remembered

Through the process, the Franks learned they could make an even bigger impact for the cause they are so passionate about: caring for our community’s hearts.

“We want to leave a legacy,” Dr. Frank said. “I hope it’ll benefit the community and the organization, and it’s also a way to be remembered.”

Complimentary values-based estate planning services are offered by the Sanford Health Foundation. There are no obligations, hidden agendas or time restraints, and conversations are kept in the strictest confidence.

The Franks encourage others to meet with Thompson & Associates and benefit from the thoughtful, personalized advice and guidance.

“Definitely go, because you will learn a lot,” Dr. Frank said. “This process makes giving back easy, efficient and appealing.”

Posted In Foundation, Physicians and APPs, Sanford Stories