I like this title — it prompts you to fill in rest of the clause. There are innumerable “fill ins” and I will leave you to think about them. Instead, I will share the one that prompted this Blast. Over the last six weeks, I contracted one of those nasty cold/coughs that just won’t go away. The cold symptoms, for the most part, all resolved in 10 days – except the hacking cough remains. After endless hacking, you start to worry. First you call your internist. He prescribes an antibiotic. You also stock up on cold and cough remedies from the drug store. The cough does not go away. You return to the internist – asking about a dose pack and other meds and saying, “WTF can I do about this!?”
Next up, you’re scheduling a chest CT scan. You do some homework and realize quickly that the CT Scan is where they look to verify no cancer (among other things). Before you know it – “thoughts creep in.” Before the cough, everything was status quo good – working out, feeling good – and the plan was to live another 35 years – and cross the big 100 – with a snicker in your stride a la Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. (If you don’t know who these guys are – you’re a youngster and you should search for them on YouTube!). Now with the CT scan scheduled, you’re saying, “What if . . . maybe I’m not going to be around for another 35 years.” You start to think of your family – your spouse, your kids, grandkids – as well as your parents – and those family and friends that are no longer around. The crushing thought hits you that perhaps you may be joining the “those that are no longer around club” sooner than you planned.
What should you do? First, don’t panic (I didn’t). Second – you should realize that it’s a good time to look at your Estate Plan and make sure its says what you now want it to say. In my case, my plan was drafted ten years ago. In it, I was leaving my estate first to my wife, and then the kids – but I was spreading the time frame out in which the kids would be entitled to receive the money because – back then they were in their early 20’s and I wanted to protect them from themselves. Now – my daughters are both married, with children, in stable marriages and demonstrating fiscal responsibility. If my wife and I should both perish, I now want them to have the money right away – not spread over time. Solution – simple. I revised the Estate Plan. Sure, I tell clients all the time – you should look at yours every 5 years. Some do – most don’t. I didn’t! So here’s another rule – when something happens to cause you to think of your mortality – think about your estate plan – because if it does not say what you now want – you should change it!
Good news, in case you’re wondering. The CT scan was clear. The cough, now that’s still around – but I’m returning to my plan to stick around for another 35 – perhaps a bit wiser to understand we all must face and plan for the inevitable.
Have a great weekend.
P.S. In case you want a great deal on addressing your Estate Plan – we have a seminar on Wednesday, October 16th that’s perfect for you! Attendees receive a $300 certificate off the cost of any Estate Plan. To sign up, click below.