Tending Our Gardens, Intentionally Planning for the Future
Over the last couple of weeks, it seems my husband and I have made more trips to The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and our local nurseries than we did all of last year. There is nothing like working remotely from home while homeschooling a child to drive one to seek refuge outside. I have encouraged this obsessive home improvement as much as possible, with the happy result that our home and garden have never looked better.
This yen to be outside planting is not only a welcome distraction from dire pictures of communities in crises on every TV and tablet, but it also speaks to something deeper. Gardeners are a hopeful bunch. They actively work in the present for something they may not see come to fruition for months to come. They plant bulbs in September knowing that tulips will come in the spring. They tirelessly weed out the bad and tend to the good. They do what experts say is difficult for most of us – they work now for the benefit of their “future selves.”
The concept of “tending our garden” as a metaphor for life has come up often in the many self-care emails and posts I see lately. During this time of quarantine, we are encouraged to weed out non-essentials and refocus efforts on activities that will pay dividends later, if not today. As an estate planner at Chambliss, my conversations with clients likewise touch on their past, present, and future selves. Family dynamics and background are important considerations in the planning we do today, as are current medical conditions and financial concerns, as well as the possibility of future incapacity and the desire to preserve assets for younger and future generations.
In this current environment of crisis, many of us desperately need the comfort of certainty. For some, today’s uncertainties seem too many and only make them more anxious, resulting in behavior like stockpiling toilet paper. For most of us, there is no actual need for toilet paper in mass quantities. Our need is not for paper products but rather for a plan. Hoarding out of fear is a symptom of the problem, not the treatment. The treatment is a plan.
We cannot know how long this current crisis will last, but while we have the luxury of time, we should use it in ways that will make a difference.
The estate planning team at Chambliss is ready to assist you with your estate plan. Perhaps you need to revise an existing plan or update financial or medical powers of attorney. Maybe you need an Advance Directive for health care so your quality of life wishes are known. These are small steps that can have a large impact. Please contact us to learn more.
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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings, and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. In some cases, the underlying legal information is changing quickly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Please contact your legal counsel for advice regarding specific situations.