Ron Stark: We are joined, as we are each week, by Larry Brock who is an estate planning attorney from the Brock Law Offices in Chino. Larry, every week you’ve shared with us different elements of estate planning. I wanted today to try to stump the lawyer, and I don’t really mean stump you. I have just some me questions, and I’m sure you get those kinds of questions all the time from your clients.
Larry Brock: You can try and stump me. It’s okay.
Ron Stark: I somehow doubt I will. I wouldn’t put money on it. Answer me this. If someone my age … I’m on the younger side of middle age. I’m in good health. I have two teenage kids, who if they don’t kill me, I should be okay. Is the time an expense of estate planning something that at my age I should be thinking about?
Larry Brock: Depends. That’s the lawyer’s word. It depends. If you’re writing-
Ron Stark: I thought you were offering me diapers for a minute. That’s better.
Larry Brock: No.
Ron Stark: That’s different.
Larry Brock: If you’re riding a bicycle down the hill in Rancho Cucamonga, and you broadside a car, and you’re in the ER and the ER brings you back instead of letting you die, did you need the estate planning?
Ron Stark: No. Yes?
Larry Brock: Yes. Why? Are they going to pull the plug on you? Who’s going to take care of your money? Yes, you need estate planning. That’s an actual case I have.
Ron Stark: Really? It’s funny now that you’ve said that, I tend to think of just dying of old age, or natural causes, or, god forbid, even getting sick. You don’t think about the accidents in life that could happen.
Ron Stark: I could walk off the corner tomorrow and get hit by a bus. You’re right. Who is going to handle my estate in terms of my children and their long-term welfare?
Larry Brock: Here’s another one. Go ahead. Ask another question.
Ron Stark: Well, no.
Larry Brock: No, no. Ask a question. You got to stump me.
Ron Stark: Boy, that’s going to be hard. When someone has a large extended family, how does that impact … I know you have, too. Unfortunately, when someone passes and there’s a reasonably sized estate, everyone temporarily loses their sanity.
Larry Brock: Yes.
Ron Stark: How does knowing that come into play when you’ve got a lot of people that might be involved?
Larry Brock: You counsel them over and over again. The way I’ve described it, and having been there, you are in a spot where … It’s like you’re in a tar pit and you’re flailing around trying to cope. What I do is hold your hand and help pull you out. You keep saying, “I want it to get back to normal.” Well, there is no normal. There is a new normal and you will get back to that new normal. I’ll help you get back and it’s all these family members that have to help get back to normal, their new normal. As they go forward … I described it you’re in a tar pit that’s going to suck you down unless … Well, as you walk forward, every now and then you will see a little black spot. You’ll step in it and it’ll be just like you were there two weeks ago. Let’s say, two weeks ago. Yeah, two weeks ago. April 13, 2005. Two weeks ago my mother died. April 13, 2005, my son died. If you don’t protect yourself and if you don’t work at it and deal with this new normal, it’ll draw you back in.
Ron Stark: Beyond helping someone manage what happens to their estate after they passed, you play a big role in working with the family to find what you’re referring to as that new normal.
Larry Brock: You have the plan in place that helps you know what that new normal is going to be to manage the resources, to distribute the resources to the children, and then they can go forth. Ron, you’re the glue that holds your family together.
Ron Stark: Suddenly I’m gone.
Larry Brock: Suddenly you’re gone and there’s no glue. Everybody is just, “What do we do?” Well, this plan that we create that … Remember we talked about values, that includes your values? That pulls them together and that will be the new glue for the new normal.
Ron Stark:&nsbp;If someone wants more information, how they can have an estate plan and leave a new normal for those behind them, how do they get a hold of you?
Larry Brock: Call me and get a copy of my book at my website or the phone number 909-590-9545.
Ron Stark: The website?
Larry Brock: Trustandprobatelawyer.com.
Ron Stark: All right, Larry. As always, thank you.
Larry Brock: You’re welcome.
Ron Stark: We will be right back.