Imagine visiting the doctor for what you thought was a minor illness, and being told instead that you had a rare disease that would take your life within two months. How would you want to spend your final days? Would you have the capacity to make important legal and financial decisions while dealing with the shock and grief associated with your diagnosis?
These are the issues Chuck Jaffe addresses in his moving article “46 Days to Life: What’s Your Plan?” Earlier this year, his brother, Rob, was unexpectedly diagnosed with primary amyloidosis, a rare blood disease that took his life in just 46 days.
Fortunately, two years before his diagnosis and death, Rob had the wisdom to visit an attorney to have an estate plan made. So, while Rob undoubtedly had plenty to deal at the end of his life, one thing he didn’t have to worry about was making sure his legal affairs were in order.
Rob asked Chuck to share his story so that he could help others learn about the value of planning ahead. He wanted to impress on others:
how big a blessing it is to know — when their time comes — that they have everything in order, that they don’t need to stress or worry about how things they worked their whole life for are going to turn out . . . I would not want to waste a minute of my life now having to do estate planning or worrying that I live long enough to get documents filed or whatever garbage comes with it.
By planning his estate while he was still healthy, Rob was able to evaluate all his choices and make the best decisions for his family instead of having to deal with the heartbreaking details when he knew his death was near. As a result, he was able to spend his last days focusing on the people and things that mattered most.
If you discovered today that you only had 46 days to live, how would you like to spend your final days? I’d venture to guess that estate planning would not be high on your list. None of us likes to think about dying. We all hope to live long, healthy lives. But we can’t predict the future. We owe it to our families and ourselves to plan ahead.