A Personal Message
I’m 38 and have been practicing estate planning law for more than a decade. I know it’s possible that today I (or you) could die in a car wreck or by stepping off the curb in front of a bus or by a tree bizarrely falling on me or by a million other ways. That said, I do not feel like I’ve really appreciated my own mortality until recently.
I grew up competitively waterskiing and wakeboarding and I still wakeboard for exercise and fun about twice a week. About five weeks ago while wakeboarding, I had an awkward landing and two bones in my leg broke. Unfortunately, I was able to get a good look at them after they came through the skin while floating in lake water. I have friends and clients who are medical doctors who tell me that this could have resulted in serious infection or possibly bones severing arteries, and if that happens you do not have much time. Thankfully, the type of compound fracture I experienced was far less likely to result in this and I am okay.
But four days in the hospital really got me thinking about “what if this, what if that had happened.” So many variables could have made the situation so much worse. My wife could have been widowed and my 2 year old daughter would have never remembered me. This incident further cemented in my mind the need for pretty much all adults to have good estate planning in place. I actually do have a plan in case you’re wondering (I’m not the shoe cobbler). I’ve got a plan that takes care of my family upon my death, in the manner that I desire. I also have a healthcare power of attorney in place so that my family knows what to do and what I would want were I incapacitated or even into the dying process. Thankfully I did not have to use these this time around. But, I have them in place for when the time comes and that’s what matters. More importantly, my wife knows I have them in place and where they are located.
Part of my point in writing all of this is to say that young or younger people tend to not think about death for obvious reasons. Most young people, and it’s more important with kids, have never thought through the impact their death could have on their spouse and kids, both financially, emotionally and in many other ways. Most have never considered the possibility of dying and their child turning 18 and getting control of a million dollars or more through life insurance! A few hundred grand or less is even significant. I can tell you horror stories about the results of plans done wrong!
My other point in writing this is to those who are older, which is a relative term. Any type of planning, be it estate planning, financial planning, whatever planning . . . you can just put it off and the natural human tendency, which we’re all guilty of to some extent, is to do just that. I’ve been practicing long enough now to have heard the most absurd things said about the need to plan, which someday I’ll compile a “top 10 list” of. Countless times I’ve heard older people say, “Now that I’m getting older, I should probably get something in place” and in my head I’m thinking, “You could have died 30 years ago!” I actually had a man in his 70s who owns a business worth well beyond $15 million say pretty much those exact words to me, like he’d never contemplated what would happen to his business upon his death.
When you don’t plan, it almost always costs more than if you had planned. Often times, so much more and that’s just money; the time, stress, etc on your family heavily factors in.
1. If you have a plan in place, are you confident in it? If you did it on your own, what makes you feel confident that it will work correctly?
2. If you do not have a plan, WHY NOT?
Don’t Wait – Contact Hamrick Law to Get Your Estate Plan in Place!