In the past two months, I have had the privilege of helping two clients create estate plans in the final weeks and days of their lives. In both cases, spending time with these two beautiful individuals as they faced death with clarity and courage was an honor.
We made significant progress, and I and the families are grateful for what we were able to accomplish in a short period. But, in both cases, because we were rushing to make plans at the eleventh hour, there were significant things that were left undone - wishes that could not be fulfilled, assets that could not be preserved, loved ones that could not be protected.
In both estates, courts will have to be involved to handle unresolved matters.
In both estates, there are still administrative costs and fees ahead.
In both estates, there is still the risk that assets will be exposed to the financial predators and creditors of beneficiaries.
It is certainly a privilege to help people near the end to find some peace of mind about these issues, but it is no less a privilege to help people plan well in advance. In those cases, nothing has to be left undone.
The Basics: What's a "trust" and what does it do for me?