“But I’m not old!”
My friend Abby exclaimed “But I’m not old!” when I suggested that she and her husband consider estate planning. She had just finished telling me that she was pregnant, and that she and her husband had recently signed a contract to purchase their first home.
“Look, I don’t know the exact details of your particular situation, but I assume that either one or both of you have accumulated some money in a retirement plan while you were still in the U.S., and when your father-in-law passed away last year you guys inherited something that is probably still in the U.S. – does any of this touch on reality?”, I replied.
“Yes, of course.” Abby said sheepishly.
“So why let a Court in the U.S. reduce the value of any of those assets by between 5 to 15 percent just because you think you are too young to plan?”
“You’re saying we need a Will, right?”, Abby asked. I replied by explaining, “Well, not just a Will, some planning. I know that it sounds far-fetched to think that something could happen to you, and it may seem to border on the superstitious to think that you should plan for what will happen upon one or both of your deaths. I have heard it all before from clients over the years. But both medicine and Torah teach that anything can happen during childbirth, and you need to plan for such a large asset such as your first home.
“Don’t you want to decide who will inherit from you both? Don’t you want to hold on to as much of the value of your assets as possible because you worked so hard to get the funds to buy them and saved to create them? Don’t you want to provide for the baby, if you cannot for some reason (G-d forbid)?”, I asked.
Abby did not have to think too hard to realize I was right. She then confided in me that although it seemed to be a large expense today, it was worthwhile and necessary to plan for tomorrow, so as to ensure a future for the whole family; one that that reflected the joint vision that she and her husband hold.