Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Queen at Buckingham Palace

Yesterday, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, became the longest reigning sovereign in England’s history.  She is 89 years old and she still works – she reviews correspondence daily, she meets with the Prime Minister weekly, she makes public appearances, she continues to carry out her duties (“Duty first, self second”).  She may not be close to being done – her mother, the Queen Mother, lived to be 101.

While the Queen has less concern with estate planning – it all gets handed down the line – I doubt that she ever contemplated being on the throne this long.   This is an excellent example of how life may not play out as we imagine or contemplate.

When an individual with children makes an estate plan at the age of 40 or 45, she is contemplating the next twenty years – planning for a spouse and young adult children.  As grandchildren come along, they may be added to the estate plan – their education being a high priority.

This same plan is no longer relevant when she is 85 or 90.  By now, her children are senior citizens and her grandchildren are grown.  There are great-grandchildren, perhaps great, great-grandchildren.  The planning focus must change – the children are retirees – they have already provided for their own retirement income.  The grandchildren have completed their educations and have married.

Estate planning must be seen as an ongoing process over our lifetime.  Unless we meet an unfortunately premature demise, the documents that we first draft cannot be locked up in a safety deposit box and never revisited.  Life changes. We change.  Things do not go as planned or anticipated.  It is vitally important to revisit our plans over our lifetimes, changing and tweaking as we go.

Americans admire the Queen – her grace and dignity, her work ethic.  She is an example of life today and in the future – living and working longer, confronting futures different than anticipated, having horrible years and great years.  When we reach the age of 89, we may find ourselves not at the end, but looking forward to more, healthy, productive years.  We will be obliged to plan for the future – even then.

 

 

Back to School – for Adults Too

School Bell

The end of summer is capped by the beginning of

school house

the school year.  If you have ever had kids, you know that this is really the beginning of the “new” year.

Summer fun is over for the most part, we are getting ready for autumn – closing up the garden, putting things away.  The holiday season is still a distance off.

This is the time to pull out the “to do” list.  What did you mean to get done during summer – but the summer fun got in the way?  What is still sitting there – nagging at you.  Things that you know you should get to – but they never seem like front burner issues.  It is time to get down to business before you are once again too busy and too full of excuses to tackle these nagging, yet important issues.

One of these is estate planning and financial planning.  It is time to make an appointment with your financial planner if you have one – and if you don’t you need to find one.  It is also time to make an appointment with an estate planning attorney.

If you don’t have an estate plan – it’s time to get one done – young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick.  You need a plan!  It might be a very simple plan – or it may be quite complex involving trusts.  In either case, this is the time to get down to business and get started.  In this way, you will have it completed in plenty of time to get ready for the holidays.  If you don’t, it will continue to nag at you as an undone to do.

What do you need to know to get started?  The hardest part is deciding who.  Who will be your Personal Representative or Trustee?  Who will be your Agent under your Durable Power of Attorney?  Who will be your Patient Advocate under your Durable Power for Health Care?

Once that is decided, the rest will fall into place.  Your estate planning attorney will give you options and various tools to accomplish your goals and purposes.

If you don’t get started – you will never be done.  No more excuses!  Make an appointment to get started today.