One of our Academy Members recently brought to my attention a really moving article from the MSN Money website. In it, Chuck Jaffe writes about how a couple of years back, his brother had insisted, over the protests of his sister-in-law, that they plan their estate.
The sister-in-law was really hesitant, primarily because estate planning isn’t a very uplifting topic, and it made her think about things that she wasn’t prepared to deal with. Plus, she didn’t want to jinx herself or her husband. Long story short, the estate planning process wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be, and all the appropriate documents were put in place.
Fast forward to this year, and the brother, who is only in his fifties, is diagnosed with a horrible terminal illness. It turns out that, after his diagnosis, he only survived for 46 days… not even two months. One of the things that he did during his final weeks was insist that his brother, the writer, pen an article after he was gone, about not waiting to take care of the important things in your life.
The way he phrased it was, “If you only had ____ days to live, what would you not want to do and not want to worry about?” For him, one of those things was estate planning. He was glad he had gotten it out of the way while the clock was not ticking and he and his family were not on an emotional rollercoaster.
It’s the opposite of the question most people ask. You usually hear: “If you only had two weeks to live, what would you want to do, who would you want to meet, where would you want to go…”
But it’s a vitally important one. There are things we all put off, as if we’ll have an eternity to get around to them.
What’s on your list?
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124