This morning I got on a plane bound for a conference in Austin, Texas. As I sat at the gate waiting for the chaos that is boarding a plane to ensue, I could not help but wonder how many of my fellow passengers had completed estate planning documents. Moreover, for those who did have estate planning documents, how many of them notified the fiduciaries named in those documents of such designation and their pending travel plans?
As these thoughts ran through my head, I completed my own mental checklist. First, yes, I had a complete set of estate planning documents that were up to date and ready, if necessary, to be used. Second, and maybe just as important, who knew of their existence? Everyone who I had designated in some form or fashion was aware of such designation but, it had been awhile since the last time they were reminded. (Note to self: Remind them!)
The bottom line was that I had done the planning and provided the awareness to those involved in my estate plan. However, had the answer to question 1 or 2 been the negative, it was too late for me to address these issues should something happen to me during my travels.
Statistics would likely show that 1 out of every 3 passengers, if not more, did not have such a plan in place. Nobody wants to think about tragic events in everyday life - especially while sitting on an airplane. However, as an estate planner, it is engrained in my head to think about and plan for the unknown.
I am of the belief that everyone, regardless of age or financial status, should have a current and comprehensive estate plan in place. Part of that plan should be the ability to know that, should the unknown occur, you have put measures in place for someone to make decisions on your behalf. Many of our clients come in for estate planning documents because they will be traveling in the near future - whether for leisure, business or military deployment.
You may not be able to plan ahead for the crying baby sitting behind you on the plane for 3 hours, but you can certainly plan ahead with respect to your estate.
- Adam Abramowitz, Esq.