Estate Planning – Why Bother?     Its a Head thing & a Heart thing

Let’s work our way down, starting from the brain, the logic center that deals with figures and facts.

Facts  – we are all going to die. Along the way some of us may be injured or ill. Many of us will live well into our 80s and 90s, but need care for daily activities. While today you are mobile, active and extremely competent, believing that you will always be is naive and dangerous.  A little planning can make it less confusing and less costly. Accept the reality, make a plan and enjoy life.


Figures – it costs money to die. Aside from the cost of the funeral, which can fall within a wide price range based upon many choices, there are legal obligations a deceased person’s family must meet. Paperwork, forms, filings are all needed to finalize a person’s estate.  This is no easy task and often an attorney is retained to assist the family through the process.


During our lifetime we actively work at growing our wealth and saving our dollars. We buy forever stamps, prepaid legal services and home insurance. While most of my communication is via email I still like knowing I have a hedge against the potential cost increase of mailing a letter. The chances of a home fire that completely destroys my home are less than two percent and yet I know with 100% certainty that one day I will die. If there is something I could do today that will reduce or eliminate the future cost of an inevitable event it certainly seems to be the financially prudent thing to do.


From the Heart:

While I have heard a number of people say they don’t care and their family can sort things out after they are gone, very few actually mean it.  From an unselfish view point, making plans is a gift we give to those we love. It allows them to be emotionally involved in care giving and grief without the disturbance of dealing with legal and financial matters. Properly done it provides a ‘helper’ to guide them through what needs to be done without the burden of cost and time expenditures. Someone to lean on and hold their hand at a time when both are so necessary.

Selfishly, making a plan assures your legacy.  How will you be remembered? In my own life, memories of some relatives are clouded by ‘the mess they left for us to deal with’.  Are family members no longer on speaking terms because there was conflict around settling an estate or did “Mom left us with a plan in place, it made things so simple.”


In Summary – Since we are all going to die and leave behind work that must be done by others it makes both economic sense and emotional sense to prepare for this inevitable event by putting a plan in place that will provide both the structure and the help that will be needed.