|July 21, 2014|
Previously published on June 26, 2014
Bad planning, late planning and lack of planning manifest themselves in every area of life. Most recently, they were on very public display at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. While I could detail the poor planning by the Olympic committee in choosing a host for the winter games located in a sub-tropical zone, or the late planning in developing the Sochi infrastructure in a timely manner, I’d rather highlight our own speed skating team, who posted its worst performance in 30 years, as an example of all three planning errors.
The U.S. speed skating team made several key mistakes that led to disastrous results at the Olympics: first, the athletes never competed in the new Under Armor race suits prior to the games, which were blamed for restricting mobility (lack of planning), second, the team introduced a brand new skate polish on the eve of the games that didn’t alleviate the friction as anticipated (late planning), and finally, the team trained at high altitude prior to competing at sea-level in Sochi, which masked their actual level of fitness going into the games (poor planning).
Bad planning, lack of planning and late planning for the U.S. speed skating team led to failure. These same three planning errors in your estate plan will lead to messy legal and tax problems. According to the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, 50 percent of Americans with children do not even have a will. Even those that have created a will may not have planned effectively. A recent Florida decision brings to light the effects of bad planning when utilizing a legal form to make a will. In the case, the testator tried to leave property to her brother, but the testator’s nieces ended up with the funds because the will lacked an important clause. The judge cautioned in her opinion that, “While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer, this case does remind me of the old adage ’penny-wise and pound foolish.” The case is just another example of bad planning or perhaps lack of planning.
Estate planning is complex, but it can be easily summarized into five objectives:
- Transferring the right things, to
- The right people, at
- The right time, for
- The right cost, with
- The right management.
Don’t be like the 2014 version of the U.S. speed skating team and set yourself up for failure. You can establish the right plan with the proper thought if you begin to think about your personal answers for the above five objectives. But start thinking now to avoid the disastrous results showcased by the bad, late and lack of planning by our country’s speed skating team in these most recent Olympics.