You’re probably curious about what the above string of numbers means or refers to. Is it the winning numbers in some new “Pick 11 Mega-Lottery?” Is it a secret code of some sort?
You’ll probably be surprised to learn that it is the ages of people whose obituaries appeared in a local newspaper one recent day.
We get fooled by the concept of averages, even though at one level we know better. If someone suggested that the average daily temperature in St. Louis was around 65, it wouldn’t persuade us to assume that wearing a light sweater or jacket would be appropriate on a hot day in July or a cold night in January. A baseball pitcher who knew that there was only a 1 in 10.61 (his career average) chance that Mark Maguire would hit a home run would not conclude that Maguire hitting a home run was sufficiently unlikely to happen that he didn’t really need to be concerned about it.
We seem to be especially fooled by the concept of averages when it comes to life expectancy. When we see that average life expectancy is 78, we seem to assume that, with a few exceptions, “most people” live to somewhere between 70 and 85. The problem is, you can’t look at any given day’s obituaries and still believe that. Some people live to an “average” age. But others live to a ripe old age, and others die young.
The realization of that truth has profound implications for estate planning. Too many people assume that estate planning is something they can safely put off until they’re in their late 60s or early 70s. In the case of over half the people from that recent day’s obituaries, following that assumption would have meant that they had no estate planning documents in place when they died. By default, they would have chosen to let the State decide how their estate should be distributed, and who would be in charge of taking care of things after they die. That’s not a good place to be.
Unfortunately, that’s where well over half of Americans end up – dying without any kind of estate plan in place. And make no mistake about one statistic: if you’re alive now, there’s a 100% chance that you will eventually die, perhaps later but perhaps sooner.
The moral of the story is clear. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, you need to change that. It’s an investment in your and your family’s future that’s certain to pay off. If you’re reading this, the subject is on your mind. So ask yourself: Isn’t it time, now, to get this taken care of?
The good news is that if you do, you’re going to be very happy that you did. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have taken positive steps toward securing your family’s future after you’re gone.
Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.
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