Opening Day For Planning

Opening Day

Opening Day in baseball is a time of excitement and anticipation. It marks the beginning of a new season, a rebirth for opportunity, putting the past behind us, and getting a chance to see our favorite teams take the field. However, it is also a reminder that life is unpredictable. With this unpredictability, I cannot help but compare Opening Day to the estate planning process.

Opening Day
Opening Day

Baseball just doesn’t happen. Teams prepared for their Opening Day long before today. Likewise, estate planning just doesn’t happen either.

For those confused by the infield fly rule, estate planning is the process of preparing for the transfer of assets and accounting for our health. For some, this means setting up a will, trust, and making sure beneficiary forms are updated accordingly.

Before today, teams are adjusting their depth charts. They chart their season and look for strength and weaknesses. From an estate planning perspective, I like the idea of making a list of our most trusted advisors, friends, and family. Also, I encourage families to chart their assets, both their present value and future value.

Making a plan is similar to baseball executives choosing their starting lineups. Other times, Clients want more control and prefer the role of player / manager. Either way, how we choose the decision maker and in which situation they are called upon is a process worth developing.

Just like a sharp grounder to the hot corner, life can be unpredictable. None of us really know what the future will hold. For this reason, preparation is key. Estate planning is not for the wealthy or elderly – it is for anyone who wants assure their family. One important aspect of estate planning is naming a guardian for our minor children. For those with adult children, naming a guardian for the elderly is equally important.

Some Major League teams have the the luxury of making a trade or calling upon a minor league player. When there is a disagreement, a baseball commissioner might make an unpopular ruling. Likewise, some families have plans in place and use decanting to their advantage. Others are forced to utilize the court system. And as you might expect, seeking a court can be painful and requires both time and money.

Hitting the baseball into the gap for extra bases is about taking control. Drawing a walk means relying on the opinion of others. After all, we never know how the umpire will respond. From an estate perspective, a power of attorney is better than an umpire because it allows someone to make decisions on our own behalf without waiting on others. This can be especially important for medical decisions or financial decisions.

Finally, while Opening Day in baseball is a time of excitement and anticipation, it is also a reminder of the importance of estate planning. When we have a plan in place, we are ensuring that our wishes are carried out and that our loved ones are taken care of before life screams “play ball”.