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The Montana Estate Lawyer

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yes, it can happen.

I just couldn't believe it.  

I came into the office on Thursday, and there was a note that my afternoon meeting had been canceled.  We were to finalize planning to transfer a farm from one generation to the next.  But the big, strapping, energetic 48 year-old son who was to take over had died of a heart attack the day before.

I couldn't get the death out of my mind.  It just couldn't be.

Of course, practically every day I'm telling clients that we need to plan for the unexpected.  The older spouse doesn't always die first.  The kids don't always outlive their parents.  Car accidents can maim or kill anyone any time.  But I still just couldn't believe it.

I felt so bad for his mother.  We'd met many times to wrestle with the mechanics of transferring the farm to the now deceased son and his brother.  As I always do, I'd suggested that, once we had the transition planning done, the boys should complete their own planning.  But I hadn't worried: we had plenty of time for that.  I thought.

So, another lesson that I had to relearn.  It really doesn't matter how big and healthy we are.  We have to plan for the unexpected.  You'd better believe it.


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