Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Irrigation Well is Fried - Why Is Life Difficult When I Did Everything Right?

I had my sprinklers turned on this spring.  That was the easy part.  One evening I was at my kitchen sink, washing dishes, listening to the radio and noticed my back yard had turned into a lake.  A hole the size of a basketball was gushing water from a sprinkler pipe.  After weeks of having my back yard dug up and pipes replaced by the sprinkler people, they told me it is not the sprinkler system that does not work.  It is the pump for my well.

Let me tell you the obvious.  I know nothing about water systems and do not really want to know.  I just want someone to fix it (and of course yesterday).

So, I called the well man.  He came and told me there was a small part that was frozen last winter.  He replaced it and everything now works.  I've had the pump for 10 years and no one ever told me I needed to do something special to keep it warm in the winter.  I had the part fixed and now I am ready for a hot summer and a green yard filled with flowers and vegetables.  That part I am happy about.  The "fix-it" part made me grumpy for a few moments.

How does this apply to you?

Well, when setting up an estate plan, you do everything you can think of at that time to have the best plan in place to help now, and most importantly during the bad days (should you be unable to handle your affairs or upon death).  The plans we set up for our clients focus on protecting their independence, assets and families.

Then some time passes, and that original plan does not work as well as it did originally.  Just like my pump, some part needs to be fixed and it is not your fault.  The law changes, your health changes, your relationships with people change and your money changes.  Usually one of these four things changes every 3 to 4 years.

What should you do?  I suggest you pull out your planning documents and review them.  Do they still reflect how you want your affairs handled?  Are all your assets titled properly and do you have the proper beneficiaries listed on your life insurance, retirement benefits and annuities?

If not, I encourage you to set up a review with your estate planning professional.  Do it now!  Or you can wait, have a mess that is harder and more expensive to fix, and only find out about it when you really need the plan to work (like the lake in my back yard).

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