While traveling to our cabin in Northwestern Wisconsin during peak autumn season, I got to thinking of how the changing of the seasons parallels the changes in our lives. Each season has its own uniqueness and intrigue in nature; and each season has its own color: winter is predominately white (not always); spring’s color is light green with cultivated fields of black; summer’s color is predominantly shades of green; which evolves to the color of fall being a [painter’s pallet of multiple vivid colors. I once observed to an employee of Texas who never had experienced autumn in Minnesota that the beauty of fall colors is the compensation we in the northern regions get to offset the bitter winter weather.
The interesting observation is that we adapt to the changes each season brings in how we dress and what we do. We change our lifestyles each season to maximize the enjoyment of that season while protecting ourselves from the discomfort and indeed danger that each season brings.
My thoughts wandered to realize that nature’s seasons paralleled the seasons of our lives as we proceeded down the path of life.Each season for a family from early married; to young children; to adolescent children; to married children; to grandchildren; to retirement; elder life has its own uniqueness and beauty, and each season has its own problems and pitfalls that must be adapted to for your protection.
Because our lives change as we pass from season to season, so must our life plans (sometimes called estate plans) change. Each season provides different challenges that should be addressed in the event our season then comes to an end. The flexibility of a living trust which provides both planning for lifetime needs as well as end of season planning, coupled with periodic reviews to accommodate the change in seasons is unquestionably the best way to plan for the seasons of life. However, be careful not to settle for standardized, canned, one size fits all wills or trust. Have your plan customized and tailored to you specifically and that it is capable of being readily adaptable to reflect each new season of your life. Also, don’t underestimate the value of an experienced attorney who concentrates in this area of the law to help you uncover and express your values and virtues for your loved ones.
The difference between nature’s seasons and our life seasons is that with nature we get another chance to experience it next year. With life’s seasons on the other hand we only get to experience each season once and we should live and enjoy each season to the fullest, but with the understanding that any season could be our last season and that we can experience it with greater peace of mind knowing that we have done our life planning adequately with proper estate planning.
Attorney: Paul J. Stier
Paul has been practicing law for over 45 years, focusing mainly on Estate Planning, Business Planning, Trust Administration, Probate and Elder Law. After decades of helping thousands of clients with their estate and business planning needs, Paul has stepped back a bit from the active practice of law, but regularly lends his experience to the firm as attorney in collaborating on estate plans.