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Estate Planning 101: Strike One … Strike Two
By Attorney Marlene S. Cooper
Published April 19, 2013

My husband loves baseball, so much so that when we go to a major city he sometimes makes it a point to visit the local baseball stadium.  He is fond of saying corny stuff like “Baseball is precious, that’s why it is played on a diamond”.  As for me, I thought it might be fun to be an umpire and call “STRIKE THREEEEEE”!  The only problem is I could never actually be on the field since I’m scared of that hard, fast ball.  I guess I will just continue to be happy watching and eating my way through the game.

Just like you never know when the game of baseball will end, you never know when the game of life will end.  Using the baseball analogy, often I talk to or hear about individuals who seem to already have two strikes against them when it comes to estate planning.  They say things like “I have plenty of time; nothing is going to happen to me anytime soon.  I know I need to make a plan and I intend to get around to it someday”.  That’s strike one, since the swift transitions of life can be like a curve ball.  Then they go on to say “Anyway, if something did happen to me, my heirs would figure things out.  I’ll be gone so I don’t have to worry about it”!  That’s strike two.  Sometimes life is kind and a person gets the opportunity to come through with a game winning hit by getting their affairs in order.

We never know what life is going to throw at us, and if someone already has two strikes against them, hopefully they are able to handle that 95 mph fast ball, or that nasty wicked curve ball, or the big slow (deceiving) change up because there is nothing worse than being called “OUT” (caught looking), especially when the bases are loaded.  I am happy to field questions about estate planning and to advise (coach) people on how to hit the estate planning home run. 

© 2013 by Marlene S. Cooper.  All rights reserved.  (Marlene S. Cooper, a graduate of UCLA, has been an attorney for over 30 years.  Her practice is focused entirely on estate planning, estate administration and probate.  You may obtain further information at, by e-mail at, by phone at (626) 791-7530 or toll free at (866) 702-7600.  The information in this article is of a general nature and not intended as legal advice.  Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this article).


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