What Does Scouting Have to Do with Estate Planning?

Scouts and estate planning

Scouting Motto: “BE PREPARED” and why BEING PREPARED should not stop when you leave scouting as a young person, but be a life long goal.

I am blessed to say that my kids, along with those of some of my co-workers and friends, are involved in scouting. I love scouting because the lessons and experiences teach our kids fundamentals in life, as well as exposing them to opportunities and experiences they may not otherwise enjoy. Whether you are Boy or Girl Scout, your motto is “BE PREPARED.”

This doesn’t just mean, “don’t forget the tent you need for the camping trip,” but be prepared for LIFE. Many of us expose our kids to this concept through scouting and other programs, but then do not practice what we preach when it comes to securing our family’s own financial future. This continues to be true even in 2020.

Benefits of Early Prep

I recommend that people start the estate planning process at age 18 when your college-aged student or newly employed child might leave home. If he or she has any medical, financial or legal trouble, even if you pay for their medical insurance or similar expenses, you are no longer their agent unless a power of attorney says so. (See our in depth blog post on this topic here). While this might seem like an abundance of caution, it’s important to consider. Studies also show that young people who have these kinds of documents in place tend to be better stewards financially, so there are many positive benefits to being proactive.

Half of Adults Don’t Plan

Depending on which poll you reference, more than 50% of adults have not written a will or other related estate planning documents. Whatever their reasons, and they are understandable to a degree, it is important to do so even though no one wants to entertain the “what ifs.” Sadly, despite our doing our very best to motivate, educate and encourage people to BE PREPARED, many times I see them in their darkest hours when in desperation they turn to me for help. I always do my absolute best to advocate for them. Still, I can’t help thinking how different things would be if they had approached me earlier and spent the time to BE PREPARED.

Some examples:

  • They have lost a family member unexpectedly and need my advice on how to proceed.
  • They have an important medical procedure and don’t yet have a healthcare directive and/or estate documents in place. Probably the procedure was scheduled for months, but a gentle reminder from the hospital a week before to bring those documents with them encourages them to call us in a panic.
  • They have an elderly or chronically ill relative who has taken a sudden turn for the worst and must be put into a long-term care facility paid for by Medicare. When the limited coverage runs out they need an asset protection plan to continue the coverage. Those plans take time to create and be filed, so in the meantime the family is on the hook for thousands to continue the care.

BEING PREPARED should be everyone’s motto. If these same folks had reached out earlier, put documents in place and continued to update them regularly as advised, we save them money, stress, heart ache and so much more. So, when you are evaluating whether to start the estate planning process, keep in mind, BEING PREPARED saves you so much in so many ways.