Welcome! As I have prepared to launch this blog I have spent considerable time thinking about my first post. I have looked at possibly hundreds of other elder law practice websites to get ideas. The standard first post is normally a discussion of estate planning documents, what they do and why you must have them. This is crucial information - no question about it.
However, those who know me know I'm not one to follow the well-trod path in anything. I launched it today so I could explain how cyclical, natural phenomena relate to elder law and estate planning. So, (stay with me folks), without further ado, I give you the top five similarities between estate planning and the great American eclipse of 2017:
They are predictable. Modern science has endowed us considerable knowledge of sun, moon, and earth patterns and ability to predict when these events will occur. Similarly, estate planning documents provide you and your family a predictable guide for how your hard-earned possessions will be divided when you are gone.
They inspire awe and fear. History tells us about ancient civilizations and how they viewed solar eclipses as omens of doom. It takes little imagination to consider how the sun disappearing in mid-day would have left our ancestors stricken with awe and fear. Similarly, planning for our lives as we age and planning for our eventual death inspire fear and can seem enormous.
They require preparation. If we've heard it once, we've heard it several hundreds of times - don't watch the eclipse without eye protection! Whether it is solar glasses or a repurposed cereal box viewer (like mine), you must plan ahead to experience a solar eclipse. Likewise, the peace of mind you get from knowing your last wishes will be honored also requires preparation and forethought.
They force us to face our mortality. Solar eclipses are rare events and seldom has an eclipse passed across the United States. The last solar eclipse with a similar pattern was in 1918. Many of us will witness it (myself included) knowing this is our one chance to view it in our lifetime. Planning for your estate also forces you to acknowledge, and accept, mortality. While it is frightening, you can achieve peace of mind by planning ahead and taking control.
They force us to accept change. Some view solar eclipses as symbolizing a fresh start and inspiring the beginning of positive changes. By planning for your future through a well-crafted estate strategy, you can begin to take greater control of your financial life.
Each Monday in the weeks to come, look for pieces explaining why estate planning is relevant to anyone who has anything they value. Together we will explore the fast moving field of long-term care planning in the age of healthcare reform. Remember all of those discussions about block grants from the Affordable Care Act debates this summer? I plan to explain, in plain English, what they could mean to you age.
Thank you for joining me and please send me your thoughts and feedback!