In conversation with an estate planning client one day, I learned a valuable perspective. Millie was complaining about someone or something, and said “You know, Steve. It’s always about the tyranny of expectations.”
Immediately my mind sorted through the decades of advocacy I had done on behalf of aggrieved clients. Almost invariably, these grievances were a result of what Millie coined: “The Tyranny of Expectations.”
A simple breach of contract: I expected to get this, and did not.
A border dispute: I expected my lot line to be straight. What are all these red markers in various locations?
I was preparing to go in to my older years as a married woman. How am I to live now on only half of what I expected to have?
To the extent almost all disputes are a reflection of the tyranny of expectations, how do we proceed in this minefield called life?
Initially, we prepare documentation in an estate plan so as to set forth our expectations, and to the extent necessary, let our loved ones know our expectations. For example, if I become incapacitated, son Stan the lawyer is in charge of the financial and legal decisions and daughter Mary the doctor is in charge of the medical decisions. Not everyone’s plan is so simple. But with clear thinking, you will know the best person to be making varied decisions for you.
In resolving disputes that arise, understanding the tyranny of expectations is paramount. These folks are in mediation now because of the dashed expectations of one or the other. What can they decide upon now not only to resolve the unexpected matter, but also to provide for reasonable and reliable expectations in the future?
Legal planning is the art of planning for the minefield of the expected and unexpected. Mediation is the resolution of the existing tyranny of expectations, and to lay the groundwork to avoid the tyranny in the future.
What are your expectations? And what do you can be expected of you by your loved ones? Let’s talk about it at Ellis Resolutions. Contact Steve Ellis at 941-366-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.