How do you know if an estate is unhealthy?  I am writing from bed today because, despite my best efforts to avoid it, I caught a cold from my daughters who probably caught it from another child at school.  This particular cold has had some interesting phases.  At first I was sneezing all through the night.  Next, my nose began running constantly with intermittent sneezing.  Finally, I now have chills, fever, and a cough.   It is not very fun.

An Estate is the accumulation of our assets and liabilities AND the daily activities that sustain them, so it is kind of like an organism.  Symptoms of an unhealthy estate will manifest in different ways, but there are some comparisons that can be made to what I am experiencing from my common cold’s symptoms: Sneezing/Coughing, Runny Nose, and Fevers/Chills.

Sneezing/Coughing:  Sneezing/coughing is an involuntary response by the body to attempt clear breathing pathways of troublesome elements present in the system or in the environment.  It is a warning to do something different or to get out of the environment.  Think of your last financial crises like an expensive car or home repair or a big medical event.  Was the estate prepared with resources to handle the event or not? Were the bad elements or environment removed?  Sneezes are unexpected, but they happen; preparation for sickness and modifying behavior are the best solutions.

The Runny Nose: It often comes after the sneeze. It is a constant drip.  I do not know where it all comes from, but all I want to do is get it to stop.  The drip is frustrating because it requires constant attention and drains energy.  An estate with a runny nose is one that bleeds resources unproductively.  There is a hole in the bucket, and it is hard to identify the source of the problem.  It causes regular frustration because you feel your accounts should have more funds than they do.

Fevers/Chills:  For an estate, temperature control is determined by the people in it.  Attitudes, opinions, and personalities affect the health of an estate more than some might think.  The goal is to keep an administrative tone at a comfortable temperatures for everyone involved.   Whether it is hot (contentious/dramatic) or cold (hidden/secretive) the people affected by the estate are going to be uncomfortable, and therefore, unhappy.  Balance strong personalities with cooler temperaments, and avoid controversy where possible.  It just easier that way.

I plan to feel much better next week and talk about a happier topic than sickness.  Thanks for reading, and do not forget to go see your Juris Doctor if you are concerned about an unhealthy estate.