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SENIOR ADVOCATE

By Liza Horvath

 

The Shoemaker’s Shoes

 

If my husband, Skip, would have been just a few seconds later in his drive home one day last week, he most likely would have been killed. At the very least, he would have been gravely injured. Traveling eastbound on Carmel Valley Road, Skip saw an oncoming car spin out of control, flip around behind him and tumble off the steep embankment. The hurling, out of control vehicle missed him by mere inches. Being the “good sam” that he is, Skip immediately pulled over and jumped down the embankment to help the passengers trapped in the wrecked car.

 

Not far away, I heard the sirens and, having that psychic connection common among couples who have been married for decades, knew he was involved. To say I was happy when he later walked through the door - safe and sound - would be a significant understatement.

 

Events like these tend to bring important things into focus. After giving thanks for the safekeeping of my friend and spouse, I remembered that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” I spend my days (and many nights) thinking about, worrying over and planning for my client’s estates, their sometimes troubled families and their most personal concerns – but what about my planning? My family? My concerns? In the interest of honest and full disclosure, my planning is a mess!

 

We are a blended family – both my husband and I have children from prior marriages. While we both had assets when we married, after marriage we invested time and money in acquiring real estate, stock investments and contributing to our personal retirement plans. These “after acquired” assets are community property. Having an outdated estate plan or no plan at all could result in what is commonly referred to as “bad.” Without any will, if my husband had been a few seconds later on his drive home and did not make it, part of our community property - which I, naturally, consider “my” property - would go to his children. The same is true if I die without a will – part of our community property would go to my son. This is not necessarily what we have in mind.

 

Close calls like this are helpful – they remind us to wake up and remember what is important: family, friends, enjoying life and, of critical importance, making sure our affairs are in order. The truth is that none of us gets out of here alive. One day we all will get our call and, while we hope that day is long from now, how can we know? As a result of all this, I have made the commitment that, as soon as I have completed this column to meet my deadline, our estate plan will be updated. A 529 College Education Plan will be established for our new grandbaby and then, because in truth my husband and I could die at the same time, I plan to clean out certain drawers and closets at home - if we both die and someone needs to sort out our stuff, I would be so embarrassed by that mess!

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com

 


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