Tuesday, February 02, 1999

Save, Invest, and Then You Die


I'm an estate planning attorney. Yeah, I know... I'm the scum of the earth, charging people to protect their lifelong Foolish work from Uncle Sam when the grim reaper calls. But hey, someone's gotta do it, or else the Congress will have that much more money to continue investigations, trials, and (egads and gadzooks!) depositions of GenX interns.

I've noticed a principal that I call "I Worked, Saved & Invested for THIS?" Many a client spends so much of the little time they have on this earth to scrimp, save, and invest in order to accumulate a sizable Foolish fortune. Upon visiting with me they learn that they must start giving their assets away to their kids (who are mostly described as unFoolish spendthrifts) and grandkids (who are mostly described as those "beautiful little darlings," unless the grandkids exceed 20 years of age, at which time they are often described as "just like their parents, unFoolish spendthrifts who are even worse) in order to save estate taxes.

Eventually, the hardworking, Foolish client ends up passing away with a sizable fortune that was never enjoyed. They have denied themselves vacations, cars, nice houses and other luxuries. Their kids and grandkids, seeing this injustice, often decide to immediately counterbalance the perceived malfeasance. (There, I used a lawyer word or two so you can roll your eyes at how us lawyers don't speak English).

So please remember, dear Fools, to relax and occasionally enjoy the fruits of your labor, because if you don't, your heirs certainly will!

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