My clients often tell me that they are too young to plan. “We don’t really need all those documents yet do we?” they ask.
And those days I have it easy because as I sit on my special mornings once a month surrounded by my best friends – all amazing women, who like me, are in their forties have careers and children to take care of – I am reminded and can tell my clients that want to leave planning behind for another day what leaving the door open for later may lead to…
Leaving the door open may lead to the day when you have to make the decision without your partner or loved one whether to pull the plug, or not, without any guidance as to their wishes. I look at my friend and I think of that day she had to sit and write us all to tell us as that she had made this decision for her husband and she hoped that we, as his and her friends, would support her. Although we had little children at the time and were all overwhelmed with individual grief, can you imagine the strength it took to make this decision to end the breathing machine? So often I now tell a young couple to not just focus on who is going to take care of your kids, but who is going to help that partner with the hard decisions.
Today we all believe in the elixir of life. We believe we are going to leave a long life, we talk of dying prior to eighty as young. I often visit clients who are in their late 80s and even 90s, but again I sit drinking coffee with not one but two widows who are now in their forties. We still have not found the cure to cancer. The two women I sit with were not lucky, they both lost incredible loves and they have endured horrible pain, but they were both legally prepared and so the potholes were not there for them.
Today there are all kinds of laws in pre-planning that can be used to help protect you and your loved ones aside from a Will. In estate planning for a younger family with children, I plan for that “what if” scenario, but let us hope that none of my clients get to join my table as anything other than my friends. I know that if they worked with me they would be protected because they would have a HIPPA release so their loved ones could talk to the doctors, a Power of Attorney for financial matters, an Advanced Directive for Healthcare, a Designation of Guardianship for the Children, and of course a Will. Planning is something everyone should do, not just for what we expect and want, but for those sitting your table it is the gift of giving some answers and protections.