What’s the difference between a root canal and estate planning? Les Bloch says less than you think.
Let’s start with a root canal and work our way back. Your tooth hurt for months but you drank your daily cup of denial and now it’s a hammering throb. You don’t want to be here, but now you’re in the chair, jaws strained, the peculiar smell of grinding bone filling your senses. When it’s over, you exhale a sigh of relief.
What do Prince, Abe Lincoln, Pablo Picasso and Howard Hughes have in common? Nope, it’s not root canals, but something just as dreaded. They all died without wills or trusts. In simple language they did not plan the end game of their estate.
I recently became the executor/trustee for my parents’ estate and trust. While not particularly large, it involves property, trust disbursements and the dreaded ‘p’ word — probate — that state-triggered process that acts as a structured legal will for anything left out of the trust. Probate is slow, lengthy, expensive and avoidable. Remember the root canal? Okay, talking about what happens after you’re dead is as much fun as... wait, that’s how I started this piece.
It’s easy to just say, “What do I care? I’ll be dead.” Any conversation which has this as a possible response explains why we’d all rather binge on Netflix. But just like your oral health, ignoring what will happen to your home and assets ends up costing you and your loved ones time, money and anguish in the long run.