Confessions of a Planner

The holidays can be a stressful time. Coordinating family schedules, travel plans, and cooking big meals can be fun but we all plan ahead for them. I am a planner for many reasons one of them stemming from my early life circumstances.

When I was ten years old my older sister was in a car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury. This taught me that accidents can happen at any time and such events inevitably cause family restructuring. This influenced my life in many ways one of them being that I am now a planning attorney. As a planning attorney, I help others consider family structure, values, concerns, liabilities, and assets, and I help them to translate all of that information into a comprehensive legal plan… Hopefully plans are made before any major planned, or unplanned, life transitions.

Many of us plan for the holidays months in advance but when it comes to planning for life’s end or the possibility of needing long term care in the future… I find that many people have not thought about how they

How can you start planning? Think about how you plan for the holidays. You often talk first with your loved ones about what each of you is hoping for. Planning for the future and for life emergencies starts the same way. Are there things you want to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner that you don’t know how to make? You likely will consult a cookbook, written by an expert. Are there things in your life that you want to protect for your children? You will need to talk with experts, like your advisors, about how to do that. Do you have a family recipe that needs some updates? You’ll likely write them in, but you can’t do that with your estate planning documents. If you have documents that need updating, contact an attorney, like me, who will help you create a personalized plan to protect the people and things that matter most to you.

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A good plan involves careful thought and attention to detail. There are some places in life where you can use cheap substitutes and get by. In estate planning, no one will stop you from passing away without a written estate plan, but your relatives may pay dearly for the administration of a cheap, inadequate, or no-plan approach. Whereas more comprehensive planning during life can save a client and loved ones money and aggravation down the line.

The good news is, you don’t have to worry about “doing-it-yourself.” We all have different skills, callings, and areas we excel in. For good estate planning, you need to be willing to seek and receive proper assistance, care, and attention to your planning. There are lots of different ways to start planning and the sooner you can start the better. We plan extensively for the holidays, often right down to what each family member will cook or bring to dinner… Why shouldn’t we do the same for our health, wealth, and legacy?