Planning for the Future

My wife and I have been reviewing our estate planning recently – it has been over a decade since we last paid attention to that subject.  We have found that different people have very different reactions to hearing that we are thinking about – planning for – our future deaths.

At one end of the reaction spectrum are the people who are fascinated by the entire process.  These people tend to view estate planning as a puzzle to be solved, wanting to discuss the various legal and tax rules that have led to different estate planning strategies.  Some even remember that the movie Body Heat used the rule against perpetuities as a vital plot twist.   I count myself in this group as I strain to remember what I learned back in law school and studying for the Bar Exam.

At the other end of the spectrum are the people who would prefer to avoid the subject entirely. Intellectually, we all know that all of us will die sooner or later and that it makes sense to plan for death, but these people feel that planning for death is a little too close to inviting death.  These people are very sensitive, and may well be the people that we most want involved when close family members (or even ourselves) die, as they will be the ones most likely to attempt to heal the wounds caused by loss.

Most people, of course, are somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.  In any event, I am glad that my wife and I have decided to revisit the topic.  We should do so again every so often, especially since our daughters are now becoming adults and will be able to be more and more involved in the process as time goes forward.


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