An Important Self Test

I saw an idea that said, “When you are dead, you won’t know.  It will be difficult only for the others.”

As a public service, I have devised a test so that a dead person may find out that they have passed on.  There are several questions.  Each will be answered either Yes or No.

  1. Are you wearing your best clothes but have nowhere to go?
  2. Are your children fighting over your property?
  3. Are there people in the room who you know but have not seen for more than five years?
  4. Has your lawyer just ordered a Mercedes?
  5. Has it been more than 12 hours since your last meal?
  6. Is your business out of control?
  7. Are you cold?
  8. Do you owe an exceptional amount of income tax?
  9. Is your blood pressure lower than usual?
  10. Does your bank want its loans and guarantees liquidated?
  11. Are your eyes closed but you aren’t sleeping?

If you have answered “Yes” to more than six questions you are quite likely dead.  Three or fewer, you are probably alive.

Even numbered questions are ones you can do something about.  You should give them some thought while you can, because unless you provide the tools, your executor cannot solve any of them effectively.

A twelfth even numbered question you might ask yourself is, “Would my executors prefer not to be involved?”  Too many problems.

A good estate plan addresses problems in advance and provides:

  • An equitable division of property
  • Minimization of costs and taxes
  • Liquid assets to meet unavoidable obligations
  • Completion of a plan of business ownership and management succession
  • Optimal income and security while you are living

Most estate problems have solutions, but you need to start early to avoid them.


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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:

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