Will, Estate PlanningFrequently, I will speak to someone about the death of a loved one and try to share wise counsel with them. There are a great many things that accompany death that most of us have little experience navigating. Each case is unique and each one has some similarities to the hundreds that I have handled in the past. Occasionally, I will arrive at the point in the conversation where it is appropriate to ask what estate plan the deceased put in place. Often, the answer is that no planning had been done because the death was unexpected or a surprise. This is understandable when a young person dies in an accident, or perhaps when violence ends a life. It borders on the absurd when the victim of this “unexpected” death is in her 90s.

The mortality rate is 100%. Those cemeteries you drive by every day are not Halloween decorations or historical exhibits. My natural human tendency is to deny my mortality, or at least distract myself from such a disconcerting truth. But, as a grownup, I have an obligation to acknowledge and make provision for the inevitable. I have responsibilities that go along with the benefits of being a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. I don’t want to add to the burden of those I leave behind. I want to be a blessing to them.

If you need advice as you deal with loss, or if you want to plan for the future, I would be happy to speak with you. Here’s to the surprises in your life resulting in joyful memories and not the unhappy results of your failure to plan.