So today, I have it on my task list to write my blog. I actually enjoy writing blogs, although I don’t often hear much feedback on them. I fell off my blogging efforts last year due to a variety of reasons, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, was to commence blogging in February (I always like to take the pressure off myself with resolutions by staging them throughout the year….rather than all at once!)
I was finishing up some client related phone calls this morning, and finally made contact with George, with whom I was playing an excellent game of phone tag for our first conversation. Can you imagine how much fun it was to connect with this new person and hear him tell me today “you need to write more blogs”? I think the universe was giving me a little prompt and sign to keep my resolutions. LOL, so George, this blog is for you!!
Much like blogging, I wonder why do some people put off planning their estate? It is a question I think about on a regular basis. For some, estate planning seems to portend an end to their days, and their fear of death and dying lead them to avoid estate planning. For others, both successful people and those of more modest means, their focus is on acquiring wealth, not distributing, and they tell themselves that when I get “X amount of money” then it is time to plan. Many are afraid of the cost. Still others read articles like the recent one in the New York Times about James Brown’s estate, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/arts/music/james-brown-estate-unsettled.html , and think, “see, those lawyers just cost you a lot of money, and then everyone fights about the money after you die anyways.” I understand all these concerns, and in my practice, make an effort to work with clients to address all their concerns before they retain me, so that we are on the same page and moving forward.
For me, the most important reason to estate plan, and the one I think people should focus on, is to protect those you love and what you love. You clearly want to avoid leaving an estate mess, and with careful and consistent planning, that is a very achievable goal. It is important to incentivize your heirs in your desired behaviors, be it altruism, education or saving. Additionally, you can help guide your heirs who may have special needs or substance addictions. Finally, you can protect your family members from the “U-haul Planners”—those familial types who are going to take over and run everything their way, and often for their benefit. But failing to estate plan? You are protecting no one.
If estate planning was on your list of resolutions this year, or perhaps a review of your estate plan that exists, feel free to reach out, it would be a pleasure to assist you. It is always great to know someone is reading, right George?