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The Montana Estate Lawyer

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Estate and Long-Term Care Planning – Lessons From Baseball

Another baseball season is upon us.  I'm always excited about the new season because that means spring is here and that my hopes and dreams are still alive that my favorite team will win the pennant.

My wife Rhonda and I attended a major league baseball game last July in Baltimore and sat in seats just behind home plate.  Rhonda has not been a big major league baseball fan and she was amazed about just how hard and unpredictable the game can be.  I have to admit that while watching a professional baseball game up close and personal, I shared her sentiment.

Take the batter, for example.  He must approach the at-bat with a strategy in mind given the pitcher’s tendencies and the game situation.  He gets only three strikes against him and to be successful he must withstand the pitcher's arsenal of weapons--the wicked fastball, the knee buckling curveball, the deceiving changeup, and the bottom dropping, nasty slider.  Success comes only with a game plan and attention to detail.

The lessons from baseball can be applied to estate and long-term care planning.  Like the batter, we never know what life is going to throw at us.  We need to establish a game plan and monitor and maintain that plan in order to ensure that our assets are managed for us if we can no longer handle our affairs, and to ensure that our assets go to whom we want, the way we want, when we want, and to do so with the least amount of taxes, professional fees and court costs possible.

Delaying or failing to implement our estate and long-term planning or failing to monitor and maintain our plan is like taking two strikes in baseball with the bases loaded and the game on the line.  We always feel we have plenty of time to get things in order, but what comes at us is always unpredictable.  In baseball, there is no worse feeling as a batter than to get caught looking at a called third strike, especially with the bases loaded.  In real life, getting caught looking, i.e., failing to plan, can be devastating to a family.  Instead of failing to plan and taking that third strike, strive to hit that estate planning home run and get your affairs in order.  You, and your heirs, will be glad you did.

Jon


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