August 22, 2017

Planning for the Future

In the past we’ve discussed the dangers of ‘do it yourself wills’.

So, is there anything more dangerous than a do it yourself will?  Clearly YES – not planning for the future and not making a legal and valid will at all is the most dangerous omission you can make.

Making a “do it yourself will” at least means that you have turned your mind to the future and recognised your mortality.

None of us like to think about dying – but it is something all of us will have to face at some time.  So planning for death and what happens after that (at least in terms of those left behind) should be seen as unavoidable and necessary.

Recently I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and there on the notice board was an A4 flyer which had the banner – ‘Let’s talk about dying’. If we can recognise our own mortality and speak to a doctor about it, then we certainly need to consider the legal implications of death.

Lawyers often speak of Estate Planning.  This can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.  If you have a complicated life, if you have complicated and involved business enterprises or interests, then of necessity your estate planning will need to be mindful of what you want to happen on your passing – to uncomplicate the complicated.

If you life is uncomplicated then your estate planning will generally be straightforward and, by implication, not overly costly.

Think about estate planning like this – whether or not you are involved in complicated or extensive business enterprises, planning for your passing makes good sense.  It makes sense to plan – you do this in business and in your daily life.  Some of us might not necessarily plan our daily activities in a conscious way, but nevertheless we do.

If you have a business, then what would you like done with that business on your death?  Do you want the business sold or do you want to put in place a succession plan for that business.  Your business is most likely the sum of your sweat and hard toil over many years.  Why put all that at risk because you simply failed to plan.

So, I hear you say, I’m retired and don’t have a business or other enterprise that I need to consider.  Well consider this! All you own now, at this very moment, represents the sum of your toil – you might not have a business but all you own is really the ‘business of your life’.

In business, as in life, you have planned to meet matters as they arise or those you contemplated as likely to arise.  You know that one day you will pass, so why put your hard earned money at risk – why take the chance that the  value of your estate will be reduced by legal and other costs which could so easily have been avoided by simply planning for your passing and making a legal and up to date will.

Your call – don’t make the wrong call.