In Dan Harris’s excellent book, Ten Percent Happier, he talks about his desire to better understand and deal with the ups and downs of life. One of the revelations that he discovered was that most of us think things are going to be permanent, which they are not. Since we think they are going to be permanent, we have a tendency to focus more on the future and also cling to what is currently happening now like it will never end. Dan Harris changed his understanding to believe that all things are changing. Therefore, if you are trying to dig in and hold on to things that are changing, you will be disappointed because they are going to change whether you want them to or not.
What Dan Harris came to believe is that if you understand that all things are going to change, you are better able to appreciate the moment that you are in and appreciate what is happening at that moment. You are aware of what is happening now in the present and that it is likely to be gone in the future. This makes you more focused on living in the present moment and appreciating the present moment.
What Does This Have To Do With Estate Planning?
Three things are always changing in Estate Planning:
- The law,
- What you own, and
- Your relationships
The Law Will Change
We have a tendency to think that the Law is written in stone and will not change. It is not. It will be changed by who is in the White House, who is in Congress on the Federal level, who is in the Governor’s Mansion, and who is in the State Legislature on a State level. It even changes by your city council and county commissioners. The rules and laws are always changing.
The Tax Laws are going to be changed by the people that you elect.
What You Own Will Change
What you own will change: whether it’s a different home, you have your investments in a different place, or drive a different automobile. All of those will change and all of those will impact your Estate Plan.
You may change your residence in the near future. A large bank may take over your local bank, which will change the ownership of your bank accounts. How they are titled will determine how they will move in your Estate Plan.
Your Relationships Will Change
Who your adult child chooses as a marriage partner will have a dramatic impact on their relationship with you. If that partner encourages their relationship with you and is warm and accepting of you, it will improve your relationship with your child. If they are someone who pulls your adult child away from you, then that will dramatically impact your relationship with your adult child. Your relationships change. Someone who may have been your friend several years ago, may not be your best friend now. Your relationships with friends and relatives will wax and wane.
Things Will Change
Things are always changing so you want to keep that in mind as you look at your Estate Plan. The Tax Laws will change. We have national and state elections coming up soon.
It is necessary and needed that you “keep your head on a swivel” realizing that life is going to change. Therefore, you need to keep that in mind and keep your Estate Plan up to date with the law, making sure it controls and reflects what you own, and that you have the right people in place as your helpers, and look to the people or charities who “inherit” what you own.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.