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Do We Spend More Time Planning a One Week Vacation than Planning for What Really Matters?

My family and I are heading out to Scottsdale, Arizona for vacation this year.  I have never been to Arizona and I enjoy the warm weather, but heat similar to that of my oven isn’t enticing so our goal is go in November when it is not quite as hot.

When I travel for pleasure, the first thing I do is figure out a date and a location.  So right now, I have those two things set.  Then, I focus on the airfare and the rental car.  Of course you can visit the airlines’ websites to see what each has to offer or you can go to a travel website like Expedia to compare multiple airlines all at the same time. 

Once the date, location, airfare and rental car is out of the way we can get to the fun stuff – what are we going to do when we get there?  Since I haven’t been to Scottsdale, I am looking forward to learning about the area.  I understand that it is about 90 minutes from the Rocky Mountains so we are going to make that a day trip.  My 10 year old son will be looking forward to the excavation sites and looking for fossils.  My 7 year old daughter will be a huge fan of the resort pools so we will want to visit each of them.  We also plan on renting bicycles to explore the area and we’ll be sure to grab the brochures at the hotel display as soon as we get there so we don’t miss anything.  I am looking forward to getting away from the office for a week and spending time with my family.

All of this planning goes into a trip that we will take place about six months from now and last a total of seven days.  Isn’t it crazy when you compare how much (or how little) time we think about what happens if we die too soon or become disabled and need nursing home care?  As an estate planning attorney, I completely understand that no one really wants to think about their own death or disability.  We don’t wake up on a Saturday morning, look at our partner and say, “Hey honey, let’s talk about what happens if you or I don’t make it home from work this week.”  Talk about putting a damper on your precious weekend time.  But wouldn’t it make more sense to put together a plan for the inevitable that may last a significantly longer period of time and affect perhaps every aspect of our lives?

I received a call a few months ago from a family whose loved one was given very little time left and he didn’t have any estate planning documents in place – it was an emergency.  I talked with the client, drafted documents, revised documents, traveled to the hospital, met with the client, explained these sensitive and complex topics and had him sign the papers all within a period of about four hours.  We were able to accomplish the task of getting these important documents in place but what would’ve happened if he passed before we were able to get this done?  Proper planning would have avoided this time sensitive issue. 

Have you taken the steps to protect what matters in your life?  Do you have a Will or a Trust?  Do you have Powers of Attorney for Health Care or Property?  If you haven’t done them yet, now would be the best time to get started!

And in the meantime, does anyone have a recommendation for a good restaurant in the Scottsdale area?

Linda M. Strohschein


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