One theory of estate planning postulates that once we’ve arranged our affairs “just so,” they should be held fast forever, within a fixed and unchanging framework.
Prudence, however, dictates that expanding stock portfolios -- like expanding families -- should prompt us to alter our perspectives. And our estate plans.
The next time you and your loved ones find yourselves in a changing world, fret not: History places you in some pretty esteemed company.
Take, for example, the individual widely regarded as the greatest intellect of the twentieth century.
Would you believe that Albert Einstein himself was forced not only to rip-up his math books -- but to revise his very understanding of physics itself -- when he was proven catastrophically wrong about literally everything?
It’s true: The atom-smashing Nobel Laureate who first clocked the speed of light had long espoused a universal model in which the galactic realm was held forever fixed within a massive, static domain. The vast canvas of the stars, Einstein believed, was baked into the sky “just so.” Even the physics textbooks agreed.
Then along came a Belgian physicist who challenged this model -- positing instead that the heavens in fact were not set, but were ever hurtling outward through space in the manner of a violent explosion.
The mustachioed author of E=MC² blanched; never had the Austrian encountered such absurdity and, in 1927, Einstein dismissed as “an abomination” the Belgian interloper’s expansion model.
Four years later, science had confirmed the Belgian’s hypothesis. Pretty much everything, you could say, had changed. University physics books, though practically brand new, began “expanding” campus dumpsters. Meanwhile an expansion of greater magnitude was acknowledged far and wide as dogma: that all matter was derived from the mother of all firecrackers, latterly coined “the Big Bang.”
Einstein, humbled, went on to admit his foible. And his Static Universe joined the Flat Earth in the annals of scientific ignominy.
The presence of so-called 'dark matter' may yet vindicate Einstein's theory of "everything" -- so all you e-textbook-writing physicists out there, take note.
Even still, change visits us all -- though thankfully on a somewhat smaller scale. The kids move back to Arcata… we inherit that Ferndale Victorian… the neighbors in McKinleyville finally relent on selling us the plot of seaside acreage.
So, too may our estate plans appear perfectly dialed-in and set in stone… at first. But then the next moment -- Bang! -- our worlds expand.
If change is afoot in your domain, think about ‘pulling an Einstein’: Schedule an appointment with Gale & Nielsen to update your affairs. You’ll be in good company.