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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > The “I Would Prefer Not To” Estate Plan

The “I Would Prefer Not To” Estate Plan


When journalists talk about the Great Resignation, they usually use the term “quiet quitting” in the same article.  When young people join the Great Resignation, they are defiantly walking away from the materialistic ambitions that, they have realized, are getting them nowhere.  Giving up is only one aspect of resignation, though; resignation is also about acceptance.  In this regard, the Greater Resignation is an essential component of anyone’s estate plan, resignation to the fact that you will probably never be healthier or wealthier in the future than you are today, resignation to the fact that you have no control over what your family members do after you die and very little control over what they do while you are alive.  What happens, though, if you have disavowed the pursuit of property and of family connections that you truly do not need an estate plan?  “Bartleby the Scrivener,” a classic of New York literature, gives insights into what it might be like to opt out of everything, but for more practical advice on facing the inevitable with gracious acceptance, contact a Bronx estate planning lawyer.

Does the Great Resignation Apply to Estate Planning?

“Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville is the story of a mild-mannered diligent young man who works at a law firm in New York City.  One day, he decides to stop doing work; when asked to do anything, he says, “I would prefer not to.”  Eventually, his preference for doing nothing extends to leaving the office; as Bartleby stubbornly stays, the law office is forced to relocate, and the landlord evicts Bartleby, who goes to jail for vagrancy.  In jail, Bartleby decides that he would prefer not to eat, so he dies of starvation.  No one ever finds out why he decided to stop doing anything.

Assume that you care as little as Bartleby for possessions and family, that having nothing and no one is your natural state.  Do you still need an estate plan?  You can get Medicaid nursing home care, and after you die, if anyone bothers to open your estate for probate, Medicaid can have fun trying to reimburse itself for the money it didn’t already take from your Social Security check.  This is enough to make most people write a will and buy long-term care insurance, but maybe you would prefer not to.

If you really think that you have no hopes and no fears, imagine your final illness.  Who should make decisions about your care if you cannot speak for yourself?  Which potentially life-saving measures do you want to try under which circumstances?  If nothing else, you should at least sign a power of attorney.  You may not be attached to anyone or anything, but you are stuck with your own body for as long as you are alive, so you should at least make plans for it.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer can play devil’s advocate about your plans or lack thereof but ultimately respect your wishes.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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