Life Is Like Beer – What I Learned from Estate Planning

Responsible adults that we are, Kathie and I finally, at the age of 63, met with an attorney this week to do our estate planning. This was something we have had on our to-do list for a while…like a couple decades.

I always knew I was going to get old someday, I just thought would take quite a bit longer.

Honestly, it would probably have been another couple decades if we hadn’t attended a benefit for a family we know. There was a silent auction, and one of the items up for bid was an estate planning package donated by an attorney who also knows the same family. I was playing in the band for this event and Kathie approached me between tunes and said, “I’m gonna bid on this, ok?”

It wasn’t really a question. She was just making sure we had enough in the checking account to pay for it. I assured her that we did, and off she went to submit our bid.

Then I thought maybe I’d better check our balance, just to be sure. I pulled up the banking app on my phone. (There’s a sentence that would’ve made absolutely no sense 25 years ago. Back when we should’ve done our estate planning.) After I transferred some funds from the savings account, I wasn’t a liar.

So, we had our meeting with the attorney on Tuesday evening.

I asked lots of stupid questions, because I don’t really understand anything at all about money, or law.

Here’s what I learned:

You don’t get to keep anything when you die.


Not one thing.

Every single thing you’ve saved for, built, or earned and grown to love will either be sold, given to someone else, or go to a landfill.

My high definition TV, my comfortable furniture, my 2004 Hyundai, my lawnmower….all gone.

Every stitch of clothing. Every mismatched piece of silverware. My tools. All this will end up in the hands of someone else. Probably someone I don’t even know.

A stranger will one day live in my house and have cookouts on my deck!

Turns out, all this stuff we think we own? It’s like beer. You don’t really buy it, you only rent it!

Did you realize this?

I suppose I was told, but I’m not sure I completely understood.

It sort of became clear to me Tuesday evening.

Here’s the good news: We’re not going to need it. None of it.

We won’t even miss it.

All this stuff that so much of our limited time and energy is spent collecting, is useful to us for only the briefest of moments.

In a very short time, much shorter than any of us imagine, it will all be worthless.

Oh, I plan to enjoy it and appreciate it while I can, but I think I need to be less attached to it.

How about you?

 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”

–Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21 The Message


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