TIME’s Money Magazine is trying to get your attention. So are we.
Our headline is a riff on theirs: “You Need to Do Your Estate Planning Now. I Mean Right Now. Immediately.”
TIME contributor and certified financial planner Frank Paré just learned a hard lesson when one of his clients passed away without any warning whatsoever.
She was in the middle of making her estate plan, but it wasn’t finished yet. It could have been, but both Paré and his client assumed they had plenty of time to saunter.
That’s an assumption that many of us make — attorneys and clients alike — when it comes to healthy, young estate planners. With no threat of death on the horizon, there is no sense of urgency.
At the risk of sounding morbid, though, death is always a risk. It does sometimes strike without warning — even for the healthy, even for the young. And when that happens, it leaves a lingering legal mess for the family (in addition to the obvious burden of sadness).
Now Paré is working hard to help his late client’s family get her affairs in order. Undoubtedly, her attorneys are too. But it’s a stressful situation for everyone involved, and nearly all that stress could have been avoided if they’d just acted a little earlier.
Maybe it’s a lesson we can all take to heart. Don’t put off today’s tasks for a tomorrow that is never guaranteed to come.