Planning and preparation are constant refrains in the world of estate law. I often find myself preaching the importance of having well-drafted and up to date testamentary documents as a means of avoiding the expensive and stressful litigation process that can arise from inadequate planning. I recently watched a television program, however, that leads me to believe that there is such a thing as too much planning: National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers.

The show focuses on the efforts of members of the “prepper” movement: those who are dedicated to preparing for the end of civilization. Each person showcased believes in some form of impending apocalypse brought on by economic collapse, terrorist attack, or natural disaster. In order to ensure survival in the post-apocalyptic world, they obsessively stockpile supplies, train themselves and their families, and build incredibly elaborate shelters.

While the people on the show have taken things to the extreme, being prepared for severe storms and power outages is obviously a good idea. The Government of Canada has an extremely in-depth and helpful website dedicated to emergency planning that can help you make your own less extreme preparations.

As one person on Doomsday Preppers noted, some people believe that the world is set to end later this month, as predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar. Despite this, I think I will use this blog post as another reminder to make sure your estate plan is up to date and properly conveys your intentions. A recent article in the Globe and Mail offered some very good and concise advice: “get professional help, set realistic goals, create an achievable plan, try to maximize returns (and minimize tax) and make sure all the necessary paperwork … is complete.”

You know, in case we’re still here on December 22.

Ian M. Hull