I had the opportunity to visit with a couple that had recently retired and had determined to get their estate organized. When I asked about long-term care planning and what they had done about it, their response was intriguing. However, they just simply said out loud what I believe most people think.
Their response was, “Well her parents lived well into to their 90s and were able to stay home that whole time. My dad died younger but mom outlived her sisters and they all lived to be over 100 years old.” So what they politely told me was that they were not going to do any long-term care planning. In other words, they were going to risk it. And why not, it was in their genes. They would be as lucky as their parents and other relatives.
It is, of course, easier to not make a plan, especially if the plan requires you to put aside money or to think about things you don’t really want to think about. If you ignore your children and the impact of a possible disability on your family, it’s easier to do no planning.
We’ve heard of the luck of the Irish. And, St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. We’ve also heard the phrase, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” (If you’re set up to watch a little of the March Madness basketball, you’ll hear this more than a few times.) I know too many who have chosen do their planning by being lucky rather than good.
But, is it true? Is it better to be lucky? Sometimes in sports, we do see an athlete or a team get a “lucky” bounce. We then forget all of the hours of work and practice that went into being successful when they got that lucky bounce. Or, that lucky break. In my three decades of experience, luck has never been as successful as planning and execution.
My recommendation is that, if you’re going to be lucky, get prepared first. Sit down with your professional team to create a plan and then execute it. On the legal side, this plan would include a revocable trust, pour-over will, durable financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will (or advanced directive) and a HIPAA release. You may also want an irrevocable trust, which is a powerful tool for preserving your home and other assets if you or your spouse is not so lucky. (Interestingly, I’ve had the children of clients who told me how “lucky” they were that their parents had done their planning with us and that everything was so organized when the unlucky break came.)
On the financial side, if you want to maintain options about where you live and who will care for you when those unlucky breaks happen, you can only do that by planning, not by being lucky. Care is expensive and care at home (if that’s your preference) is very expensive. How will you pay for it? If you’re counting on your family to do that, you have to be lucky and then your children also have to be lucky. Again, the best way to be this lucky is to be prepared – meet with your team and design a plan and implement it. Tell your children and other family members about it. Help them to understand what you want to have happen. If they’re going to be a part of your plan, consult them. Ask questions. Work through the hard stuff together.
Once you’ve done all the hard work, you’ll find that you’re indeed very lucky and all of those lucky bounces end up going your way. We can help.
Call my office at 208-939-7658 and ask for Bill. He’ll get you started by setting up a Discovery/Right Fit™ meeting. Let’s get your estate planning filled with the right provisions for your situation. Remember, Good Planning is No Accident.