Soccer balls on a soccer fieldThis weekend, the English Premier League kicked off its 2023-2024 season. As a soccer fan, this is always one of the biggest weekends of the year (along with the final weekend of the season and other tournament finals throughout the year). It's also surprising to find out from my clients who are also soccer fans what teams they support and to hear their back stories on how they chose the team they root for.

My team doesn't kick off until later today, so I was able to sit back and relax as I watched the games that kicked off the season and even had some time to think about the intersection of estate planning and soccer.

Estate planning and soccer may seem like an odd pair at first glance, but upon closer examination, you'll find surprising parallels between the two. Both involve intricate strategies, teamwork, and a long-term approach to achieving goals. Just as a soccer team aims to score goals and secure victory, individuals and families engage in estate planning to safeguard their financial future and ensure their wishes are carried out.

Let's look at some of the striking similarities between estate planning and a soccer game, highlighting how both require careful planning, effective teamwork, and a clear goal.

How Estate Planning is Like Soccer

There were some exciting games to kick off the new season. Arsenal and Nottingham Forest on Saturday morning was a great start to the weekend and Brighton gave Luton Town a rude welcome to the EPL. Sunday brought a couple of ties, with Brentford and Spurs providing a more entertaining draw on Sunday morning. As I watched the games, five similarities came to mind:

Building a Strong Lineup

In soccer, a successful team comprises players in various positions, each with their unique roles and responsibilities. Similarly, in estate planning, a comprehensive strategy involves different legal documents, such as wills, trusts, health care directives, and financial powers of attorney. These documents form the core of your "lineup," determining how your assets are distributed, medical decisions are made, and financial matters are handled when you're unable to do so yourself.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Just as soccer players need to work together seamlessly on the field, individuals need to collaborate with professionals like attorneys, financial advisors, and accountants to ensure their estate plan is well-coordinated. Estate planning involves a team effort to align financial goals, tax strategies, and legal protections. Effective communication and coordination are key to avoiding conflicts and ensuring a successful outcome.

Adapting to Changing Situations

In soccer, coaches may make mid-game adjustments to respond to the opponent's tactics or changing conditions. Similarly, life brings unexpected changes, such as marriage, the birth of children, or changes in financial status. Estate plans need to be flexible enough to adapt to these shifts. Regular reviews and updates of your estate plan, like halftime adjustments in soccer, help ensure your plan remains aligned with your goals and circumstances.

Strategic Substitutions

Just as soccer coaches decide when to substitute players based on the game's progress, individuals may need to reconsider beneficiaries, trustees, or guardians named in their estate plan. Life events might require substitutions or changes to these roles to maintain the plan's effectiveness and relevance over time.

A Long-Term Perspective

In soccer, the ultimate goal is to win championships, which requires consistent effort and a long-term perspective. Estate planning similarly involves setting long-term goals, such as securing retirement, passing on assets to heirs, or providing for charitable causes. Just as a soccer team works towards championships over multiple seasons, estate planning focuses on ensuring a legacy that extends beyond one's lifetime.

While estate planning and soccer may seem unrelated at first glance, the comparison reveals insightful connections between the two. Just as a soccer team strategically plays each match with a view to the championship, individuals and families engage in estate planning to secure their financial future and leave a lasting legacy. Both endeavors require careful planning, effective teamwork, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. So, as you enjoy the excitement of soccer matches, remember the valuable lessons it can teach us about planning for life's journey.

Do You Need an Estate Plan?

If you need an estate plan or maybe just need to update one you had prepared before, let's schedule a Legal Strategy Session online or by calling my Edina, Minnesota office at (612) 294-6982 or my New York City office at (646) 847-3560. My office will be happy to find a convenient time for us to have a phone call to review the best options and next steps for you to work with an estate planning attorney to get your plan prepared and implemented.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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