Don't Get Lost in the Woods of Estate Planning!

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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“Well, this is some bull hockey,” I blurted out loud on the trails last weekend, not once, but three times, during my solo training run.


Crazy Amy was out of town, and I need to log some trail miles before our upcoming Bryce Canyon 30K next month.


My Pink Lawyer gets lost in the woodsI’ve run many times alone but always on the road close to home. I’ve run many times on the trails with Crazy Amy but never solo. Having run this particular trail several times recently with Crazy Amy, I felt confident I could navigate it easily alone. After all, I am usually the navigator anyway during our run outings.


Well, it wasn’t 2 minutes into the trail when I ran across a sign pointing the trail in two different directions which prompted my first exclamation. [Yes, I talk out loud to myself sometimes.]


I chose to go right because that seemed the most familiar to me. So far, so good.


I was really making tracks and good time until….


I came to a triple fork in the trail at around mile 6. There was a map on a sign but that didn’t do me much good because I still could not discern where my three choices in front of me would lead.


Oh well, I tossed a mental coin in the air and chose the far-right path.


There were absolutely zero trail markers of any colors (I had been following orange but there were also purple, pink, and white trails also) which was admittedly not a good sign, but the trail was well travelled so I wasn’t too concerned.


“What the f*ck?,” I thought as a I passed an abandoned tire in the woods. I had seen that tire before recently and had a sinking feeling that I was running in a circle.


Yup, my suspicions were confirmed when I ended back up at the same trail map sign.


Well, one trail down, let’s try the middle one this time.


Nope, it dumped me back onto the same one-mile loop I had just now run TWICE!


This time, I was darned if I would run the entire loop a third time. Instead, I peeled off at a different colored trail marker sign. I didn’t know where I was at this point, but I figured any other color I picked would eventually lead me out of the woods.


Fortunately, the pink markers were a shortcut, and I found my way back to my car fairly quickly and still managed to log eight and half miles.


Once home, I googled how to avoid getting lost on the trails:


  1. Plan your route before. Well, I did do this, but a plan is not worth a hill of beans if it’s not clear.

  2. Carry a map and a compass. Ok, so I didn’t do this, but I did have a compass on my phone though I don’t think it would have done me much good since the trails were of a snaking serpentine pattern not headed in one direction.

  3. Stay on the trail. Duh! If I was already lost in the woods, it certainly wouldn’t help my situation to start traipsing through the underbrush off the trail.

  4. Stay calm and ask for help. Well, I was only mildly concerned by the time I chose to switch trails. And there was absolutely no one else around to ask directions. The few off-road cyclists that had passed me earlier were nowhere to be found.


As I read this advice to avoid getting lost on the trails, I realized that the same advice applies to Floridians who are planning their estates. Many are lost and confused about the process and navigating their game plan (or estate plan in this case).


  1. Plan your route before or, as I like to say, start with the end in mind.


Our estate planning strategy meetings at My Pink Lawyer® always focus on the final destination.


What are you trying to accomplish?


It is difficult, or at least ineffective, to plan one’s affairs if you do not have a clear picture of what the end result should look like.


Don’t worry, however, if you do not yet know what the end game should be.


Our attorneys are trained to ask you lots of questions, share ideas, and assist you in formulating a solid end game.

  1. Carry a map and a compass.


All of our My Pink Lawyer® crafted estate plans include a written overview or outline of your plan, plus detailed instructions and/or assistance in updating the titling of your assets and beneficiary designations to ensure that your assets actually coordinate with your estate plan.


  1. Stay on the trail.


Your My Pink Lawyer® estate plan is designed to meet YOUR planning goals (remember your end game?).


But it is crucial that you follow the included instructions to coordinate your assets with your plan and to advise our office of newly acquired assets or if your situation has changed.


Our attorneys are your “guides” to help you stay on the right estate planning “trail.”


  1. Stay calm and ask for help.


There is no reason to panic when planning your estate nor should your confusion about estate planning hold you back on meeting with us.


Your My Pink Lawyer® estate planning attorney is trained to help you navigate the sometimes-confusing world of Florida estate planning so ask us for guidance.


Although we cannot make your final decisions for you, at least by “spit balling” ideas, we can help you find clarity in the process.


Are you ready to start navigating your Florida estate plan? Give us a buzz and one of our assistants will be happy to explain our estate planning process to you and coordinate a meeting with one of our attorneys. 850-439-1191


I will probably be back on the trails again this weekend, this time with Crazy Amy. If we run the same trail again, at least I’ll know which trail to take this time—the path not taken!


Kristen “I’m a Better Navigator on Estate Planning Issues than I Am in the Woods Obviously!” Marks


P.S. Call us today for our welcome packet filled with valuable information about Florida estate planning, including our free book discussing ways to avoid the 10 most common Florida estate planning mistakes! 850-439-1191


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